Health bosses due to take over the running of Stafford Hospital have cast doubt on the plans, claiming there is a shortfall of £125 million to make the shake-up a reality.
And bosses at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust have said they would require £14m to increase the Manor Hospital’s capacity were they to take patients from Cannock.
University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS) said the proposals were financially unsustainable in its official response to a consultation on stripping services from Stafford.
Bosses believe that they would need to spend £67m bringing Stafford up to scratch by improving buildings and equipment – and a further £58m extending its site in Stoke-on-Trent to take on extra patients.
UHNS, which is set to take over Stafford as trust special administrators’ plans currently stand, has said that ‘unless the trust receives the level of funding required we will be unable to run safe, high-quality services at Stafford’.
The damning verdict was revealed in the UHNS response to the TSA’s plans, which would see Stafford Hospital stripped of its maternity unit and face the withdrawal of inpatient paediatric care, while critical care would be downgraded.
The plans will go to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who will make a final decision by December 31.
Within its official response, UHNS says the TSA’s plan for the trust to make 8.5 per cent of savings each year at Stafford for three years would be ‘unachievable’.
Cheryl Porter, of the Support Stafford Hospital group, said today: “I think the people of Stafford would rather see that money go to Stafford.”
Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy has also put forward a response to the TSA’s plans in which he sets out a list of alternative proposals in which maternity, consultant-led paediatrics and full critical care would remain at Stafford. He also believes there is a need for 24-hour urgent care.
Speaking about the response from UHNS, Mr Lefroy said: “Moving maternity, critical care and inpatient paediatrics to Stoke doesn’t make sense in the eyes of my constituents.”
The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs New Cross Hospital, is to take over services from Cannock Hospital.