Staffordshire Council’s leader has proposed an alternative model for the future of the county’s health economy to the one recommended by Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust’s special administrators.
Philip Atkins told HSJ’s sister title Local Government Chronicle the administrators’ proposals risked local hospitals floating off as “satellites” of NHS trusts outside the county.
If this happened, he said, it would be more difficult for the local authority to join up its social care services for elderly residents with hospital services.
Under his alternative plan, four local hospitals – Stafford, Cannock, University Hospital of North Staffordshire and Queen’s Hospital in Burton Upon Trent – would be merged into a single acute trust.
“The new acute trust would be larger and more strategic and cover a wider area,” he said. “It would be easier for the hospitals and the local authority to work together to make savings.”
Mr Atkins said the special administrators’ report, published yesterday, “hinted at” merging Cannock Hospital with the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust and merging Stafford Hospital with University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
He said the report had also hinted that Queen’s Hospital Burton could be merged with Derby Hospitals Foundation Trust.
“If our local hospitals were just satellites to other hub hospitals it would really fracture a fragile acute sector,” he said. He added that this would be “the worst scenario”.
Mr Atkins said he had written to health secretary Jeremy Hunt to outline his alternative proposals and would “make our views known to the trust special administrator through its consultation”. He added that Staffordshire had applied to be a “pioneer” of integrated care under a scheme led by Liberal Democrat care services minister Norman Lamb, but that this proposal was not linked to the bid.