Bishop opposes Stafford Hospital plans
Plans to turn Stafford Hospital into a smaller-scale 'local' hospital have been criticised by a Church of England bishop.
The Bishop of Stafford, the Right Reverend Geoffrey Annas, said there were "inaccuracies" in the report put forward to the regulator of the Mid Staffs NHS Foundation Trust.
The plans will mean a decrease in the level of support currently provided by the hospital to the 270,000 people living in the Stafford area.
The Critical Care Unit has been earmarked for closure and maternity services will also be scaled down.
Bishop Annas said the closure of the services would be a "great loss" to local people.
Concerns have been raised as to whether staffing levels are sufficient enough to meet the required standards of care.
The bishop acknowledged these concerns and recent reports into failures at the hospital. However, he said there was "no justification in down-grading a much-needed hospital that has greatly improved the quality of its services over the past two to three years".
"I fear that this has more to do with wider financial considerations than the wellbeing of the people of Stafford," he said.
"I hope that when the Trust Special Administrator is appointed, [they] will reject this report and consider how best to restore confidence in Stafford Hospital."