Stoke & Staffordshire

Stafford Hospital: Meetings in Stafford and Cannock postponed

Two public meetings to discuss the future of Stafford Hospital have been postponed due to "overwhelming" demand, administrators have said.

The meetings about Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust were due to take place in Stafford on Monday and in Cannock on Tuesday.

But the Trust Special Administrators (TSA) have moved them to a bigger venue after speaking to police about safety.

Staffordshire County Showground will host both, with the first on Tuesday.

The date for the second meeting is yet to be confirmed.

'Ensure safety'

Alan Bloom, from the TSA, said 1,400 people would now be able to attend the meetings compared to 500 at the previous venues.

Earlier this month tens of thousands of people took part in a mile-long march from Stafford town centre to the hospital, protesting at the proposals to remove acute services such as accident and emergency and maternity.

Mr Bloom said: "The demand for places was overwhelming and to ensure the safety of everyone wanting to attend and to increase the opportunity for people to participate, I took the decision to move the meetings to larger venues.

"We apologise for the inconvenience and hope the new arrangements will benefit everyone."

Cheryl Porter, from the Support Stafford campaign group, is unhappy with the late decision to change venues.

Ms Porter said: "It's nothing they didn't know last week when they booked the venues.

"They only announced it last Wednesday that these meetings were going to be taking place tonight and tomorrow.

"It was said to them that they were rather small."

The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was the first foundation trust to be put into administration.

It followed years of inquiries into the standards of care at Stafford Hospital, following concerns over high death rates.

The first meeting at the showground will be held between 1900 and 2000 BST on Tuesday.

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