Stafford's MP says a consultation should be held before permanent changes are made to children's emergency services at County Hospital.
The Children’s Emergency Centre was suspended last summer over safety concerns, and a Minor Injuries Unit set up for under 16s in October.
But a review by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health published yesterday said it remained unsafe to reinstate the CEC, and that the MIU was not working effectively because too many children were coming in with illnesses rather than injuries.
Hospital bosses have agreed with their findings, and accepted their recommendation that a GP-led Urgent Care Centre should be introduced.
The town's MP Jeremy Lefroy, said: “The CEC was a recommendation by the Trust Special Administrators when Stafford (now County) Hospital was merged with Royal Stoke. It was appreciated by my constituents. It therefore came as a shock when it was said not to be working safely by inspectors last year. The Children’s Minor Injury Unit which was then set up after a short interval has provided a good service, although not able to see all the children whom the CEC saw.
“I urged the Royal College and Trust to find a way to restore the CEC as envisaged by the Trust Special Administrators. But they have not been able to find a way to do this safely. For me, the safety of children is paramount so I accept the findings of the experts that maintaining the CMIU is the only short-term solution.
“As for the longer-term model, the Royal College recommends an urgent care centre for all at County Hospital which would work together with County’s A&E (for over 16 year olds). This would manage minor injury and minor illness in children. There would be clear and rapid pathways to handle major children’s major injury and illness.
“I and my constituents will wish to understand more about what is proposed and how it would work for the children of Stafford and the surrounding area. It will require a proper consultation as it is a change from the current model.
“I will also be raising with the Department of Health how a care model (the CEC) which was proposed by the TSA and approved by the Department and the Royal Colleges only three years ago can now be considered unworkable.
“The announcement last week that there is no intention of removing County’s A&E was welcome. But what we need now in Stafford is a long-term commitment to a stable system of emergency and urgent care, delivered as close to home as possible and 24/7, for both adults and children.”