MP Theo Clarke calls for return of 24-hour Stafford A&E services

Theo Clarke MP has vowed to fight for the return of 24-hour emergency services at Stafford’s County Hospital.

Stafford's new MP Theo Clarke
Stafford's new MP Theo Clarke

The Conservative MP for Stafford said she was strongly opposed to any further cuts to services at the site, and has pledged to lobby for a round-the-clock A&E department as one of her key priorities.

The emergency department at the Weston Road site is currently only open from 8am to 10pm, with after-hours patients directed to alternative centres such as Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Ms Clarke, who was elected as Stafford’s MP in December after Jeremy Lefroy stood down, told the E&S: “The NHS is one of the UK’s greatest assets that we can all be proud of.

Theo Clarke says she will bid to have A&E reopen 24/7 at Stafford County Hospital

“For me, County Hospital provides a range of vital services and I am strongly opposed to any further removal of services there.

“That includes our accident and emergency department, which is absolutely vital to local residents.

“I would always argue for increased services. Having spoken to residents, I know they want to see the return of [24-hour] emergency services and that is something I will be lobbying for.”

Ms Clarke raised the issue with Boris Johnson during yesterday’s PMQs.

A&E services in Stafford were originally downgraded in 2011.

Theo Clarke speaking with Express & Star political editor Pete Madeley

The hospital has gone through years of upheaval since it was rocked by a scandal over poor care and high mortality rates in the late 2000s, resulting in the dissolution of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust in 2014.

Since then it has been run by the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust.

A report issued by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) last month said County Hospital “requires improvement” in five out of six areas, with inspectors finding that risks in the emergency department were not always identified.

Trust bosses said “significant improvements” had taken place in the nine months since the inspection.

Tracy Bullock, chief executive the Trust, said the improvements were “most notable” in the emergency department, an additional recruited 27 nurses and 15 doctors had been taken on.

The size of the department has also been increased, she added.

Ms Clarke has raised a series of issues since becoming the MP for Stafford.

They include calling for Shire Hall to be reopened to the public, and for residents affected by HS2 to receive fair compensation.

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