STAFFORD Hospital’s A&E department must be reopened to reduce the ‘untenable strain’ on medical services in Burton, an MP has said.
Conservative Andrew Griffiths has written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to warn of the dangers to Burton’s Queen’s Hospital if casualty services in Stafford remain closed each night.
Mr Griffiths told the Mail: “I am concerned that unless we see Stafford’s A&E reopened imminently, Queen’s Hospital will be forced to cope with an increasing burden and that is likely to affect the care Burton residents receive.” Scandal-hit Stafford Hospital shuts its A&E department between 10pm and 8am.
The hospital’s directors have deemed it fit to reopen, but their decision was vetoed by the Staffordshire group of primary care trusts (PCT).
Queen’s Hospital and others have been forced to pick up the slack while Stafford’s A&E department remains shut. Queen’s has received as many as seven Stafford patients a night, many more than the one every three days initially predicted.
Mr Griffiths said: “I have teamed up with the MP for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) to campaign for the reopening of the A&E centre in Stafford as a matter of urgency.
“It was completely understandable why it was closed after the scandal a few years ago. However, its continued closure is putting an untenable strain on facilities in Burton.
“It cannot continue that Queen’s Hospital is having to carry the burden for Stafford.
“Evidence shows there is an increasing number of patients coming from there coming to Burton.”
He continued: “My view is, given the amount of time Stafford has been closed, the problems should now have been solved and the A&E should be open again.
“If Stafford cannot solve its problems any time soon, then more resources should be given to Queen’s Hospital in order for it to cope with the extra demand.”
Stafford Hospital initially closed its A&E department at nights to battle a critical shortage of doctors.
Its directors have said they now have enough staff to reopen the facility, but the PCT overruled this decision, saying it would only take one doctor to phone in sick to close the whole A&E department again.
Stafford Hospital has been plagued by controversy in recent years because of its unacceptable death rate. A public inquiry was set up to examine the failings.