Final day of Mid Staffs public consultation

It is the final chance for people to have their say on administrators proposals for the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

The plans, announced in July, involve dissolving the Trust, axing maternity and children's services, and downgrading the critical care unit.

In its formal response to the proposals, Staffordshire County Council says a £8.5m "hole” in funding threatens to leave Stafford Hospital at "considerable risk” of both clinical and financial collapse.

The authority's leader Philip Atkins said: "We have looked at the proposals in great detail and, as they currently stand, we believe these recommendations will lead to an unacceptable fragmentation of the local health care system.

"The administrators have focused purely on trying to resolve the issues at the trust rather than look at the wider picture and indeed the wider repercussions of these recommendations.

"Not only are we very concerned that this financial black hole is still going to leave Stafford Hospital at significant risk of both financial and clinical collapse, but the review also fails to recognise the knock-on impact across the county.

"People want more services in the community – not less – and we hope that the concerns of ourselves and the people of Staffordshire are taken on board before any final decision is made.

"We all accept that the trust isn’t viable in its current model, but we strongly believe that a "fix” for the trust is not the answer and ultimately threatens the delivery of both acute care and health and social care in communities across Staffordshire.

"This is a huge opportunity here for all our partners to work together to deliver a quality NHS and social care and we can’t afford to get wrong not just for Staffordshire, but for the rest of the country.”

Stafford and Surrounds and Cannock Chase Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have both written to the administrators, saying they believe that they have not produced a solution that delivers clinical and financial sustainability for the Mid Staffordshire Health economy, but acknowledges that it did not have the remit to look more widely across the health economy. 

Chief Accountable Officer for both CCGs, Andrew Donald said: "It’s our view that the TSA has completed the programme of work as set out in statute in recommending the dissolution of the Trust. However, the CCGs believe that more work needs to be done to look at commissioning a more integrated approach to healthcare between the community and acute sector. Neither CCG can sign up to the TSA report because it doesn’t propose a financially sustainable solution and we will not accept a solution that leaves either CCG with a multi million pound debt to manage.”

Chair of Stafford and Surrounds Dr Anne-Marie Houlder added: "We believe that for the benefit of our patients locally we can commission services in a different way. With a different approach to pricing, extending the timescale to achieve financial sustainability to five years and with support to build community based services we can potentially reduce the financial gap.”

Chair of Cannock Chase CCG Dr Johnny McMahon added: "Our CCGs are absolutely clear that in Stafford and Cannock we are the bodies responsible for commissioning and therefore we will be the organisations who will be commissioning services differently from 2014. It’s vital than in doing so we work fully with the public to listen to what services they want and to take their views into account.”

The Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust says a radical shift from reactive hospital based care to proactive community care is needed as part of the solution to improving health services in Staffordshire .

Mr Stuart Poynor, Partnership Chief Executive said: "We believe the provision of health and social care around Mid Staffordshire Hospitals NHS Trust should be developed around more proactive and personalised care for individual service users, with the majority of care provided in their own homes by a community based team. This team could include specialists required to deliver the appropriate care, whether from the NHS or voluntary sector.

"This shift could significantly change the bed based requirement for services in the future because more people will be treated at home.
"The NHS in Staffordshire is changing and we have to work with our NHS partners to deliver the quality of health and social care services people need and expect."

Consultation on the proposals ends tomorrow October 1 and final recommendations will be issued in November. The Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt will make a decision by the end of the year.

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