A weekly newspaper has thrown its weight behind a campaign to save services at the scandal-hit Stafford Hospital where hundreds of avoidable deaths are thought to have occurred.
The Staffordshire Newsletter has issued a ‘call to arms’ to its readers, urging them to join the Support Stafford Hospital campaign.
The hospital is facing being stripped of a number of services such as intensive care, maternity and A&E following recommendations made in a report by NHS foundation trust watchdog Monitor.
A public inquiry chaired by Robert Francis QC heard that between 400 and 1,200 patients died as a result of poor care from January 2005 until March 2009 at the hospital.
Newsletter editor Killoran Wills said the paper wanted to support the hospital through its time of difficulty.
“Stafford needs a hospital that serves the needs of its residents, and that means offering acute services,” she said.
“Townsfolk are proud of being Stafford born and bred – and to take that opportunity away from future generations, with the loss of the maternity unit, is unthinkable.
“While the problems at Stafford Hospital in the past have been well documented, staff have worked hard to turn things around. We must now look to the future and support our hospital to be the very best it can be.”
As part of the campaign, organisers hope to commission a consultant to examine Monitor’s report and make alternative suggestions, which they will insist the Trust Special Administrator – who has yet to be appointed – consider in full.
The group will lobby the government, NHS and GPs about the proposed changes and the trust’s tough financial situation.
A protest march will also be held on April 20, from Stafford’s Market Square to the hospital itself.
A Facebook page and a Twitter account, @staffshospital, have already been set up and a pop-up shop in the town centre is due to open shortly.