A senior hospital governor is calling on Cure The NHS campaigner Julie Bailey to get behind a fight to save crucial services at Stafford and Cannock hospitals.
Mike Fowkes, lead governor at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, said Mrs Bailey should drop her fight to get NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson sacked in favour of more positive action.
He was speaking at a meeting of the Council of Governors who spoke of their “deep disappointment” in the recent Monitor report which recommends stripping Stafford Hospital of its intensive care unit, urgent accident and emergency care and maternity ward.
Mr Fowkes warned governors that fighting the Monitor report would be an uphill struggle because of what he called a “hidden agenda” by the government. “We’re not naive.The NHS has to make £20 billion savings and there seems to be a strategy that small hospitals are going to close or be merged,” he said.
“The reputation of Mid Staffs isn’t helping and I call on Julie Bailey and Cure The NHS to come here and get behind the groups trying to save this hospital for the future.
“Don’t use your energy any longer going for the heads of the top people – it’s not going to save Stafford Hospital or Cannock Hospital.”
Mr Fowkes was angry at the prospect of losing services, particularly maternity.
“I’m sure governors are as incensed as I am that Stafford residents will not be able to have a baby in their local hospital as generations before them have been able to do,” he said.
And he was concerned that other services, such as the hospital’s acclaimed rheumatology and orthopedics department, renowned nationally, might also be lost if the amount of surgery taking place declines.
Fellow governor Phil Harper said: “We can’t change history but the people of Staffordshire should not be punished and they will if we become little more than a cottage hospital.”
Stephen Hind, also a public governor, described Monitor’s approach as “asset-stripping.”
He said: “I’m deeply disappointed.”
Mrs Bailey was unavailable for comment.