Beds will be axed at another North Staffordshire hospital in the next few weeks.
Campaigners have been fighting to safeguard services at Leek Moorlands Hospital. But NHS leaders have now confirmed the number of beds will reduce from 36 between May and September.
Other services will remain in place until a consultation on the hospital’s future is completed. It comes after all the beds have closed at Cheadle Hospital, Longton Cottage Hospital and Bradwell Hospital, along with a ward at Haywood Hospital in Burslem.
Marcus Warnes, chief accountable officer for North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Beds in Leek will be emptied in the next few weeks. Other services will continue until we have a plan for these services.
“The hospital is not just a bed service. The minor injuries unit receives about 50 people a day.
“Two weeks ago there were only five residents from Leek in the hospital, most were from Stoke-on-Trent.
“Two years ago we looked at a new model of care to get more people in their homes.
“The model told us that in North Staffordshire that when people leave the acute hospital they go to a community hospital. This happens more than anywhere else in the country.
“We understand that there will be certain times when some people do need a community bed, but there are too many people in hospital where they deteriorate because of muscle wastage.
“People are queuing for beds in acute hospital because of people stuck in beds waiting to leave. Staffordshire is one of the most challenging health economies. The NHS is spending more than it has got.”
Mr Warnes was addressing a meeting of Ipstones Parish Council after members raised concerns over the future of the hospital.
Councillor Linda Malyon said: “The consultation will be just a paper exercise. No notice is taken of people’s concerns. It is all about how much money you can save. We are going back to the Victorian times.”
Councillor Philip Barks said it took eight weeks to organise home care for a member of his family.
Full story in the Stoke Sentinel, 12 May 2017