Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire hospital under 'unacceptable strain', MP says

University Hospital Stoke Image copyright Google
Image caption Relatives of patients at Royal Stoke University Hospital said there were waits of up to eight hours at the accident and emergency department at night

A hospital is being put under "unacceptable strain" because of the closure of neighbouring accident and emergency departments, an MP said.

In a letter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Tristram Hunt said staff at Royal Stoke University Hospital needed help.

The letter was sent after a relative of one patient filmed video of queues at the accident and emergency department.

The BBC has approached the Department of Health for comment.

More on this and other stories from Stoke and Staffordshire

Image caption Stoke Central Labour MP Tristram Hunt said the closure of accident and emergency services in Stafford had worsened the strain on Royal Stoke University Hospital

Dr Hunt said the Health Secretary's decision to close the A&E department at Stafford Hospital following the scandal over patient treatment had caused a "massive increase" in patient numbers in Royal Stoke, adding the NHS in Stoke-on-Trent was "at breaking point".

"We have not had the support and resource we need to cope with the influx," he said.

"Combine that with relentless austerity towards NHS funding - including cuts to crucial community services - an ageing population, an historic legacy of industrial diseases, and we are now seeing the results."

Helen Lingham, chief operating officer for University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM), which runs Royal Stoke, said they had seen an 11% increase in A&E attendances in 2015-16 compared to the previous year, which she said was driven by an ageing population.

"The resilience in our health and care system is greatly improved and where we do have spikes in demand we are able to contain the situation more quickly than previously," she said.

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