​Warnings as plans to cut costs at hospitals will see widespread bed closures

Hospitals have been warned that proposed widespread bed closures which could impact care to Burton and South Derbyshire patients and should not take place unless it can be proved they are not needed.

NHS England has said it will only support slashing major numbers of hospital beds if certain conditions are met, after figures revealed more than 90 per cent are currently occupied by patients.

The closures could come as services face making savings through sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) that are being implemented in 44 areas of England, including Staffordshire, setting out how the NHS will change services while also cutting spending.

As part of the plans, the accident and emergency unit at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital is at risk of being downgraded to an urgent care centre. Health bosses are looking at whether to downgrade Queen’s, the Royal Stoke Hospital orthe County Hospital in Stafford to an urgent care centre, which means it would not be open 24 hours day like the current A&E department

Other regions are at risk of hospital closures while some others might see services like accident and emergency and maternity being merged.

Full Story in the Burton Mail, 9 March 2017