Patients who rely on Stafford Hospital are getting a ‘raw deal’ from proposals to strip services including its maternity unit, a public meeting was told.
Around 130 people packed into the latest in a series of consultation meetings over proposals to downgrade Stafford and make sweeping changes at Cannock Chase Hospital.
Residents spoke out against the proposals for Stafford at the summit in Rugeley, but mostly backed the plans for Cannock. Trust Special Administrators recommend Stafford should lose its maternity department and paediatric in-patient care while critical care would be downgraded.
Meanwhile, the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust would take on services at Cannock Chase, with 200 staff transferred from New Cross in Wolverhampton to Cannock and some in-patient services moved from the city to the Staffordshire site.
Janos Toth, who will stand for Labour at the next General Election, told last night’s meeting at Lea Hall Social Club he welcomed the recommendations for Cannock Chase Hospital. But he added: “People in Rugeley who rely on Stafford Hospital seem to be getting a raw deal and this is not acceptable.”
Etchinghill resident Pat Wall, aged 69, who suffers from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, told the meeting she visits Stafford for chemotherapy treatment and was worried she may have to travel further in future on public transport.
“To get my chemotherapy treatment is an eight-hour event. If I have to go to these other places we have to catch a bus from Rugeley to Lichfield, then to Cannock before we can get to Walsall and Wolverhampton. I would not be able to present myself for treatment,” Mrs Wall said.
But trust administrator Hugo Mascie-Taylor replied that no change was proposed for most standard chemotherapy services and that transport would be tackled by the trust’s health equality impact assessment group.
Afterwards, Cannock MP Aidan Burley, who attended but did not address the meeting, told the Express & Star the issue of transport for Rugeley patients must be thoroughly addressed.
He added: “I think the administrators got the very clear view that people want services to stay in Stafford.”