Plans to shift maternity services away from Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust as part of its dissolution could face a legal challenge from Stafford Borough Council.

The leader of the local authority, Mike Heenan, has consulted lawyers in a bid to prevent Stafford Hospital from losing its consultant led maternity department.

It would be the third legal challenge to changes at the troubled hospital since the health secretary accepted the report of trust special administrators in February.

This concluded the trust was clinically and financially unsustainable.

As part of his announcement to dissolve the trust, Jeremy Hunt recommended a review of Stafford’s consultant led maternity service.

The hospital is due in November to be taken over by the University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust, which has indicated it may close the department before the review is complete.

Councillor Heenan said maternity services had always been the “red line”.

“If the likelihood is that line has been crossed, it seems inevitable the council will launch a legal challenge to fight any decision that does not protect a full maternity service at Stafford,” he said.

“The people of Stafford have indicated clearly that they do not support the movement of consultant led maternity services to UHNS and Wolverhampton.

“I immediately consulted our solicitors with a view to pursuing a legal challenge.

“We must take their advice on the timing and type of action this would mean as my only aim is to ensure we protect a full maternity service at Stafford Hospital, and to do that we need the proper and professional legal advice.”