I’ve written at length on this blog about the concerted and sustained hatchet-job that has been done on Stafford hospital (just search ‘Stafford’ and/or ‘Mid Staffs’ and/or ‘HSMR’) as part of the wider strategy by this government and the private health interests that back it.
For a long time, the people of Stafford have fought to keep their local acute services, with tens of thousands taking to the streets to support their hospital and its dedicated staff. Meanwhile, the constant smears by ministers and press continue and honours are awarded to those collaborating in the attack.
Plans to dismantle Stafford’s services and farm them out to a neighbouring NHS trust are utterly and unmistakably flawed, as they will cost more and achieve less than what is already in place – plans supposedly ‘reviewed’ by the same people who made them in the first place. But the fact that such plans are nonsensical and even insane doesn’t mean they won’t be forced through.
It’s not in the media yet, but the inside word from Stafford hospital is that staff have been told that ‘acute’ services – including obviously time-critical maternity and A&E services – will be discontinued and moved to the University Hospital of North Staffs (UHNS) in Stoke, which is a considerable drive away at the best of times.
On the same day as this internal announcement, UHNS was ‘on divert’ – sending patients to other hospitals – because it could not cope with its existing workload.
Merely idiotic – or malignant and insane? There’s only one realistic option.
Spread the word, support the people of Stafford in whatever way you can.
If this fight is lost, your hospital will follow.