Monitor Approve Plans to Dissolve Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust

Stafford hospitalPlans to dissolve the trust that runs the scandal-hit Stafford Hospital have been approved by the health watchdog, Monitor.

Trust Special Administrators (TSA) laid out plans in December to downgrade Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust and move some services to other hospitals.  The trust has been in administration since April.

The plans have been passed to the secretary of state who has 30 working days to announce his decision.

Under the proposals, control of Stafford Hospital will go to University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS) and Cannock Hospital will be run by Royal Wolverhampton Trust.  Maternity services, paediatrics and critical care at Stafford Hospital will be downgraded.

Monitor Chief Executive Dr David Bennett said, “Making changes to local healthcare services is never easy, or necessarily popular with the general public.  Neither does change in a complicated system like the NHS come cheap.  Nevertheless, it is absolutely essential that patients are able to access safe services today, tomorrow and well into the future.”

Monitor said its statutory powers with regard to the TSA were “quite specific” – for example, it could “only accept or reject their recommendations” and could not “amend them”.  The TSA has previously said it would take three years, from the secretary of state’s agreement, to implement proposed changes at a total cost of £220m.

The government is making clear there will be a full Parliamentary debate over the hospital.  Commons Leader Andrew Lansley MP said, “The Prime Minister made it clear that we do look for a debate on the Francis Report [published following the inquiry into events at Stafford Hospital] in due course.”

TSA plans for Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust

  • A new midwife-led maternity unit at Stafford to deal with half the number of 1,800 births the hospital does now.  Difficult births will be dealt with at UHNS
  • Paediatric unit would be run in conjunction with the hospital’s 14-hour a day A&E unit.  Sick children will be sent to the UHNS for night-time treatment
  • The critical care unit would allow patients to be treated at Stafford but only if necessary staff were in place
  • Hospital management could be transferred to UHNS by next autumn
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