Stoke & Staffordshire

Stafford's County Hospital to get children's A&E service 'in weeks'

County Hospital in Stafford
Image caption The trust said it recognised a 'small number' of patients and their families have had to travel to the Royal Stoke Hospital for non-urgent treatment

An A&E unit hit by staff shortages should have an emergency service for children with minor injuries within a few weeks, doctors hope.

Low numbers of staff with the right specialist training at Stafford's County Hospital forced the closure of A&E to patients under 18, on 25 August.

The hospital trust said it was looking at putting in a service to deal with minor injuries.

Plans for a full range of services have been submitted for scrutiny.

The A&E department is open to adults.

The hospital, under its former guise of Stafford Hospital, was the subject of a public inquiry after a higher than expected number of deaths between 2005 to 2008.

More on this and other stories from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire

Robert Courteney-Harris, chief executive of the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said staff understood concerns over the decision to suspend children's emergency services.

Image caption Stafford Hospital was the subject of a major public inquiry into healthcare failings at the hospital

"We recognise that a small number of patients and their families have now had to travel further for non-urgent treatment and we are very sorry for this," he said.

"However, ignoring external advice about the safety of our services could put some children's lives at risk, something the trust is simply not prepared to do."

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has been asked to carry out a service review and to make recommendations about how it can be made safe. The process is expected to last 10 weeks, he said.

In the meantime, staff are looking at ways of setting up a minor injuries service to deal with broken bones and sprains.

Image caption County Hospital's children's accident and emergency department dealt with about 30 patients each day

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust took over the County Hospital in October last year, after the previous trust was declared clinically and financially unviable.

The now-defunct Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was fined £500,000 last year after admitting four charges over the deaths of elderly people, between 2005 and 2014.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites