Following one of the worst scandals involving care in the NHS, Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has announced that Stafford Hospital is to lose specialist services, including downgrades to its paediatric and critical care services.

This is part of a wider shake up of NHS delivery in the area that sees Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust being completely dissolved, with the hospital now coming under the jurisdiction of the University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust.

The plans, which will take up to three years to implement, mean that Stafford Hospital will keep its limited-hours A&E department. Jeremy Hunt has also asked NHS England to consider whether a consultant-led obstetrics unit, which was due to be downgraded to a midwife-led unit, could be kept.

Linda Millband, senior clinical negligence solicitor at Thompsons, said: “This decision is disappointing for all those who have campaigned to keep services at the hospital, and for staff who have worked hard to turn the Trust around.

“It is dissatisfying that the reaction to the scandal is to downgrade many of the hospital’s services, rather than investing more money and working with staff to improve the Trust’s performance. There was a real opportunity for something positive to come out of this awful situation, but instead local people have been robbed of accessing these critical services on their doorstep.”