Councillors in Staffordshire have voted to fund legal action against plans to downgrade services at the troubled Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

At an extraordinary meeting of Stafford Borough Council last night members voted unanimously to support the work of the Support Stafford Hospital campaign group and its efforts to seek legal advice following the decision of Jeremy Hunt to dissolve the trust and to transfer some acute services to larger neighbouring hospitals.

The motion said: “This council resolves to fund such legal action as is thought appropriate to maintain essential services at Stafford, preserve the integrity of the hospital and retain the expertise of hard working staff.”

Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust was the first FT to be put into special administration following continued financial deficits at the trust. It has also been at the centre of a scandal of poor care that resulted in the high-profile public inquiry led by Robert Francis QC.

In December, the trust special administrators recommended the hospital’s accident and emergency department remain open with a midwife-led maternity unit. This would leave no consultant-led obstetrics service and no inpatient paediatric services.

Councillors also resolved to write to the health secretary requesting taht no changes to the hospital’s maternity service go ahead until a review by NHS England into the possibility of an obstetric-led service.

Members of the council also called for local representatives to be appointed to the board of University Hospital of North Staffordshire ahead of it taking over the management of Stafford Hospital.