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Petition launched to save A&E services at Stafford’s main hospital

By Richard Guttridge | Stafford | Health | Published: | Last Updated:

A petition to save A&E services at Stafford’s main hospital has been launched by a borough councillor.

Stafford's County Hospital

Fears about the future of County Hospital’s A&E department have been sparked once more after health bosses announced the launch of a 12 week “public conversation” on services across the county, which started on Monday.

The Together We’re Better partnership, which involves NHS and local government organisations, is leading a massive overhaul of NHS services in Staffordshire and is currently seeking views on areas including “simplifying the local urgent and emergency care system”.

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) has previously suggested moving from three to two A&E sites and one urgent care centre. And health campaigners are concerned that County Hospital will be the affected site, with A&E services being retained at Royal Stoke University Hospital and Queen’s Hospital in Burton.

Borough councillor Louise Nixon has now launched an online petition calling on the Government to “save Stafford A&E”.

The petition said: “Stop the plans to dismantle Stafford A&E and provide a fully functional 24/7 A&E for all members of the community including children. Removing A&E will cause the loss of life in our community.”

So far more than 200 people have signed the petition, which is on the 38 Degrees website.

Health campaigner Ian Syme from North Staffordshire Healthwatch said: “One (of Staffordshire’s A&E departments) will become an urgent care centre, I can see that being Stafford. This was all in the plans for sustainability and transformation process for the whole of Staffordshire.

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“There is no doubt this will increase the pressure at University Hospital of North Midlands [Royal Stoke]. However, we have Burton in the south and a closure in Burton would increase pressures in Derby, in Wolverhampton and in Walsall. We seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place here.

“There’s also no doubt the people at county level would go up the wall if Stafford A&E was shut 24/7. There’s going to be a long-term shortage of emergency consulting staff and doctors and nurses as well.”

The county’s Clinical Commissioning Groups – which are currently subject of a consultation of their own to become a single organisation – are set to make any future decisions on Staffordshire’s health services.

A survey is now open and listening events and roadshows are set to take place over the coming weeks. The Together We’re Better partnership has said that views gathered will help develop any future service proposals, as well as the local Five Year Strategic Plan set to be published in the autumn.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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