Mark Hackett: Leave our children’s ward alone

There is a petition currently doing the rounds concerned with saving paediatric services at Stafford:

Mark Hackett: Leave our children’s ward alone

It is worded thus:

Halt the proposed reduction in services at Stafford hospital

Why is this important?

Mark Hackett, Chief Executive of University Hospital of North Staffordshire, put humanity before money and stop the proposed reduction in children’s services at Stafford hospital.

Reducing hours at Stafford’s Shugborough Ward could result in tragedy, whether it be a critically ill Stafford baby who simply can’t make the twenty mile journey to Stoke in time or a chronically  asthmatic child from Stoke-on-Trent, who can’t be found his usual bed in his local hospital because it’s already been occupied by a toddler from Stafford.  

Arguments about ‘financial sustainability’ are an insult to children like Aiden who has fought daily since birth to sustain the most precious thing of all…his life.  Seriously disabled Aiden suffers from multiple chronic conditions which see him admitted to Shugborough Ward in Stafford on a regular basis.  If he has an attack and can’t reach a hospital immediately he could die.  Furthermore, children who suffer from conditions like these are too ill and too fragile to be transported long distance on a regular basis.  The Staff on Shugborough Ward have known children like Aiden since birth, they already understand their conditions, their needs, and have built bonds with them, meaning that they do not have to waste crucial minutes which could mean the difference between life and death.              

Mr Hackett, you have said: "There is a trade-off between the access to these services and ensuring high quality.’  Well, for Aiden there can be no trade-off.  He already benefits from high quality services on Shugborough Ward in Stafford and his life depends upon them remaining accessible within five minutes of his home.  Why will you not respect the fact that Aiden’s parents have patient choice?  They choose Stafford, not UHNS in Stoke.  The community of Stafford, the 50,000 who marched on 20th April 2013, well, we choose Stafford hospital too               

One of the more common deadly illnesses that can hit any child at any time is Meningitis.  If Meningitis is suspected in a child then it is always best to seek immediate medical attention, even if it proves to be a false alarm.   However with no local A and E or PAU open overnight and an overstretched ambulance service, which we are continually asked to only use in cases of emergency, it is likely that many Stafford parents, not least those without transport or enough money to afford buses or taxi fares, will postpone seeking medical attention until the following morning, by which time it could be too late.    

Mr Hackett, stop dictating and start listening.

This relates to a meeting attended by the Stafford Paediatric Team and the iracible Mr Hackett:


The “meeting”, and I use that word very loosely, was attended by the following:
Mark Hackett (UHNS)
The Clinical director of UHNS (not sure of name)
Matron of UHNS (ditto of above)
A member (minion) from TSA
And “various” others
Location: Shugborough ward
MH “right you’ve got me here, for what reason ?”
Reply “to discuss what you have been saying with regard to peads at SDGH ” ( a lot of paraphrasing btw)
MH ” if I have my way by January or February, but no later than march there will be no inpatient paediatric bed unit at Stafford”
Reply “But what about the 2 to 3 year period for the transfer of services?”
MH “we are not working to that time frame, there will be no 2 or 3 year period for the transfer if services”
Reply “But what about PAU?”
MH “That will be run by a & e and staffed by a & e doctors”
Reply “but that is not a PAU and you’re talking about closing a paeds inpatients unit during its busiest period of the year”
MH ” you’re not listening to me, who are you bye the way?”


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