Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust Should Be 'Downgraded'

Hospitals run by the scandal-hit Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust should be downgraded, experts have said.

A number of services, including maternity care and some paediatric functions, should be stripped from Stafford Hospital and Cannock Chase Hospital, according a report by a team appointed by regulator Monitor.

The services should be provided by neighbouring trusts, the Contingency Planning Team (CPT) said.

One in five patients would be sent to other trusts if the proposals are put into action, and the smaller hospitals run by Mid Staffordshire would ''continue to meet the needs of four out of five patients'', Monitor said.

The CPT stressed that current services have a ''clean bill of health'' from the Care Quality Commission, but in a separate report, the experts said the trust, in its current form, is not clinically or financially sustainable in the longer term.

The trust was at the centre of a public inquiry into the ``disaster'' at Stafford Hospital where hundreds of patients may have died needlessly after they were ''routinely neglected'' between 2005 and 2009.

Last week, Monitor, which regulates foundation trusts, said it was consulting on putting the troubled trust into administration.

If the move goes ahead the trust would become the first foundation trust - a supposed marker of excellence in the NHS - to be put under the charge of special administrators.

Monitor said that if administrators are appointed, they will devise a plan for the reorganisation and delivery of services.

The report sets out a series of changes for the consideration of a trust special administrator - if one is appointed.