2,200 operations switched to Stafford's County Hospital
Around 2,200 operations could be moved to Stafford's County Hospital from Stoke under radical plans to increase usage of the site.
Health bosses are planning a major overhaul of services at County Hospital which they say is 'not sustainable' in its current form.
And it has now emerged a massive 2,200 operations, including 500 orthopaedic procedures, could be shifted to Stafford as part of attempts to make the town's hospital viable.
Chiefs at the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM), which runs both County and Royal Stoke Hospitals, are hastily drawing up a strategy to increase usage of the Stafford site. They are keen for both hospitals to share the load, which could produce a double boost of easing pressure at the busy Stoke hospital and increase usage at Stafford.
However, it could leave patients living in the north of the county facing 15-mile trips to Stafford for operations.
Trust chief executive Paula Clark said: “It has always been our intention to see more patients treated at County hospital.
“We have invested more than £47m refurbishing the hospital and this includes new state-of-the-art laminar flow theatres to do more orthopaedic surgery.
“I would really encourage more people to take up the option of having their surgery at County as we have much shorter waiting times here.
“We have a talented and dedicated team there who can provide first class treatment for a number of conditions, including cancer and orthopaedic surgery.
“Bariatric surgery has already moved to County Hospital and patients are incredibly happy with the fantastic facilities and service.
“We see County Hospital as a centre of excellence for day case surgery and we hope to move more surgery there later this year.”
It was revealed in April that urgent rescue plans were being drawn up for the Weston Road hospital.
Bosses say County Hospital is underused and cannot continue to operate in its current form.
The crisis talks come as it was revealed the trust is predicting a loss of £71 million for 2017/18.
It is set to lose a subsidy it receives to run County Hospital by 2022, adding further concerns for the future of the site.