A PUBLIC meeting is to be held in Leek after fears were raised that proposals to move services from Stafford Hospital to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Hartshill could have a major impact on residents of the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Speaking at last week’s meeting of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's health and community overview and scrutiny panel, council leader Sybil Ralphs, pictured, said: “I have been told that the consultation period ends next week, but we have only just been told. We should have been part of the consultation from the start.
“There are 98,000 people in the Moorlands, many who benefit from the University Hospital.
“There is already pressure on the hospital. This is a big worry to people of the Moorlands’ three towns and the many surrounding villages, as the additional workload from Stafford to Stoke will have an impact on people using the hospital.
“We now need to immediately ask for the consultation period to be extended to allow Moorlands residents to have their say by organising a public meeting.” It was confirmed yesterday that a meeting is to take place, at a date to be confirmed.
Councillor Ron Locker said that news of the consultation was a surprise. He said: “The University Hospital is already under pressure.
“Nearly 100,000 people from the district rely on it. We have got to have the service we deserve.” Councillor Linda Malyon said the hospital affected people in every ward in the district.
She said: “The hospital is pushed at the moment and the health service has got to listen to us.” Councillor Charlotte Atkins said it had been stated that the hospital makes no money out of A&E, so therefore the sums did not add up.
She said: “The University Hospital is running at 100 per cent capacity, so this would mean extra pressure on the economy.
“It also has implications for the ambulance service.” Councillor Frank Hopley said people could not get near the car park at the hospital now, without any more people attending.
He said: “I am shocked. I am totally against it. The University Hospital cannot take on any more areas. You can't get to a car park and there is no thought for elderly patients.”
A letter distributed to the council’s health committee from Mark Hackett, chief executive of the University Hospital, said the proposals would see approximately 6,400 patients a year admitted as an emergency; 1,600 extra A&E attendances a year; and 1,200 planned procedures being dealt with by the hospital.
Also the proposal would lead to between 800 and 1,000 extra births taking place at the maternity hospital.