Stoke & Staffordshire

'Stafford Hospital: No grounds for downgrade challenge

Stafford Hospital Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stafford Hospital was renamed County Hospital.

A legal challenge to the downgrading of services at Stafford Hospital has been ruled out by council lawyers.

They were asked by the leaders of Stafford Borough Council to look at the legality of the transfer of some services, including maternity and consultant-led obstetrics.

David Wolfe QC told the authority there were no grounds to contest the steps.

Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust was heavily criticised in a 2013 report into its failings.

The inquiry found the trust had caused the "suffering of hundreds of people" in its care between 2005 and 2008. It was taken over by administrators two months later.

A new trust, University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM), was established in November and Stafford Hospital was renamed County Hospital.

Since then, lawyers on behalf of the borough council have scrutinised the process carried out by UHNM and the legality of their plans to implement the proposed transfer of services.

They concluded there was no foundation "at the present" for a judicial review.

The borough council is meeting next Monday to consider what, if any, further action should be taken.

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