THE Bishop of Stafford,
the Rt Revd Geoff Annas, has called on the Government to stop using
the town's hospital as a "political football". The hospital had
become a "byword for all that is wrong with the NHS", he told
Stafford Hospital has
been placed into administration after a public inquiry found that
it had provided "appalling" standards of care over a five-year
period, up to 2009. Plans have been announced to downgrade the
hospital, removing accident and emergency, acute, and maternity
More than 30,000 people
turned out in support of the hospital at the weekend. Speaking at
the march, Bishop Annas said: "We all know the terrible and tragic
things that have happened in this hospital that were highlighted by
the Francis report.
"Of course our sympathies
go to all who believe that their relatives died unnecessarily. They
are very much in our thoughts this afternoon. . . Having said that,
this appalling situation was not the fault of the people of
Stafford. So why should we be being penalised? . . .
"Rather than build on the
excellent work that is done here, and invest in this hospital and
make it into that centre of excellence that we want it to be, that
we know it can be, it seems as if there are certain people who want
to continue to make Stafford a byword for everything that is wrong
with the NHS.
"I deplore the way that
this fine town and county is being besmirched by those who
constantly refer to what has happened here, even if reporting on
problems in hospitals hundreds of miles away."
The BBC reported on
Wednesday that Stafford Borough Council was instructing the
hospital to make a formal complaint of misconduct to the Crown
Prosecution Service, against the chairman and the chief executive
of the hospital.
Nurses attack 'stupid' plan
The Royal College of
Nursing has attacked a government plan that would require trainee
nurses to work as health-care assistants for a year, branding it
"stupid" at a time when nurses were already overstretched.
A survey found that 71
per cent of 2000 senior nurses said that they were not confident
that staffing levels were always adequate.
The Prime Minister defended the proposal, however. He said that
it was "absolutely vital" to get the quality of care right in