Staffordshire CC has proposed an alternative reorganisation of the county’s health services to the plan put forward by Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust’s special administrators.
The administrators indicated this week that the MSFT should be dissolved, a move which Staffordshire understands could involve three of its local hospitals being taken over by neighbouring trusts.
Staffordshire leader Philip Atkins (Con) said he was concerned that this strategy would fracture its health services, leaving local hospitals like “satellites”. “If our local hospitals were just satellites to other hub hospitals it would really fracture a fragile acute sector,” he said. This would be “the worst scenario”, he added.
Such a restructure would also hamper Staffordshire’s efforts to integrate its social care services for older residents with hospital services. The authority has already applied to become one of the Department of Health’s ‘integration pioneers’, a group of ten organisation the government hopes will lead its integration drive.
Under Cllr Atkin’s alternative plan, four hospitals in the area– Stafford, Cannock, University Hospital of North Staffordshire and Queen’s Hospital would come under the control of a new single acute trust.
“The new acute trust would be larger and more strategic and cover a wider area,” he said. “It would be easier for the hospitals and the local authority to work together to make savings.”
Cllr Atkins said he had written to health secretary Jeremy Hunt to outline his alternative proposals and would “make our views known to the trust special administrator through its consultation”. Staffordshire’s application be a “pioneer” of integrated care was not linked to the alternative plan, he added.
The £150m-turnover Mid Staffordshire is predicting a deficit of £20.2m in the current financial year.
Savings measures outlined by the trust special administrators included £11.6m from “reducing executive management and back office functions”, £8.6m from “a reduction in various clinical and ward costs that are no longer required” and £10.4m in “general cost improvements”.
The administrators anticipate reducing spending on temporary staff by £6.2m and raising £4m by renting out part of the trust’s Cannock Chase site.
They pointed out that the trust’s overheads are 18 per cent above the NHS average.Their report added that thr trust would still run a deficit of £8.2m in 2017-18 even if all its proposals were carried out.
Initial expressions of interest to take over services were received from 12 organisations. This long list reduced to six when more detailed plans were requested by the administrators.
Their recommendations are among the 14 made by the Ernst and Young team appointed in April when Mid Staffordshire became the first foundation trust to be placed in the failure regime under the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.