The Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for Stafford is seeking a judicial review of the decision to downgrade the town’s hospital.
Kate Godfrey lodged papers with Birmingham High Court last Friday, claiming the recommendations of the trust special administrator for Mid Staffordshire Hospital Foundation Trust were unlawful.
Ms Godfrey argues that the trust special administrators were wrong to claim many of the trust’s services were clinically unsustainable and health secretary Jeremy Hunt was wrong to accept the TSA’s recommendations, which include the permanent downgrade of critical care and accident and emergency services.
Under the TSA’s recommendation, services will be split between Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust and University Hospitals North Staffordshire, which will also take over the management of Stafford Hospital.
Ms Godfrey says that while Jeremy Hunt accepted the TSA’s recommendations, he had also asked NHS England to conduct a further review of whether consultant-led maternity services could continue to be provided at the trust.
She told HSJ this “essentially means NHS England are going to repeat the work done by the TSA” which implicitly undermined the health secretary’s acceptance of the TSA’s review.
She does not have the official support of shadow health secretary Andy Burnham or the Labour Party for the action.
Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust was the second trust to be put into special administration under the failure regime introduced by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
The recommendations of the TSA in the case of the first trust, South London Healthcare, were successfully challenged by campaigners fighting to save neighbouring Lewisham Hospital. The TSA had recommended Lewisham be downgraded to make the south east London health economy sustainable.
The judge in that case agreed it had been unlawful for the TSA to include Lewisham in its plans.
Ms Godfrey acknowledged Stafford, where the TSA was appointed following a high-profile care scandal and a spiralling deficit, was “no Lewisham”.
However, she said the consultation process had been flawed and unfair.
Separately, the Support Stafford Hospital campaign group have also said they are considering legal action. Councillors on Stafford Borough Council approved funding to support the group’s efforts last month.