PERFORMANCE: The board of Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has voted in favour of re-opening the accident and emergency department at night, nine months after it was closed due to safety fears.

The A&E department has been closed between 10pm and 8am since December 2011, when the hospital admitted it could not guarantee the safety of patients due to a shortage of staff.

The trust, which has been repeatedly criticised for the standard of care in its emergency department in recent years, has been battling to meet a set of key criteria to ensure the department has enough middle grade doctors and nursing staff.

The A&E was due to re-open 24/7 in March, and then June, but was delayed after commissioners felt more time was needed.

Five senior and seven middle grade doctors are now expected to be in place by October.

At a meeting of the trust board today (Thursday) directors agreed the criteria had now been met, or would be by the October deadline to re-open. The trust will now seek commissioners’ approval to re-open at a meeting next Tuesday.