Stoke & Staffordshire

Debate held over Stafford Hospital's A&E night closure

The government has been urged to make sure that Stafford Hospital's accident and emergency (A&E) department reopens full time in the near future.

Staffordshire MPs spoke at a special Commons debate, spelling out why the unit was needed by the community.

The hospital's trust approved the three-month closure of A&E from 22:00 until 08:00 GMT from 1 December.

Hospital bosses said the decision was made due to difficulties in recruiting consultants and middle-grade doctors.

'80% confident'

The debate at Westminster Hall in the House of Commons was called by Conservative MP for Stafford Jeremy Lefroy, and included local Tory MPs Aidan Burley and Bill Cash.

"Parents with the child who becomes sick in the middle of the night, or an elderly person who has no transport of their own and is worried about imposing themselves by calling out an ambulance because she doesn't want to overburden the service, for them, an emergency service which is as local as possible, is essential," said Mr Lefroy.

Public Health Minister Anne Milton said the trust would be reviewing the decision early next year.

The trust's chief executive, Lynn Hill-Tout, said progress had already been made in recruiting new doctors, and she was "80% confident" that the A&E unit would open full time in March.

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