With the disappointing news today of acute services at Stafford hospital potentially being relocated to Stoke and Wolverhampton after consultation, what effect will this have on our health school for placement students based at Stafford, especially the midwifery courses? This will likely affect recruitment and the awards offered at Staffordshire will it not? Will the Health School remain based at Blackheath Lane or be relocated to Stoke as well?
The proposals, if implemented, will have an impact on placements particularly in Midwifery and Children’s nursing but also to a lesser extent in Adult nursing.
The University is actively involved in the consultations and in constructive dialogue with as many of the parties involved as possible with a view to:
• retaining as many services as possible at Stafford Hospital, and
• identifying alternative placements if that should become necessary.
Those parties with whom we are in contact include the Trust, the Trust Special Administrators, University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy and Health Education West Midlands who commission our programmes.
As part of the consultation, we will be emphasising the high quality education we provide as evidenced by our consistently high rating in the Guardian’s Subject Guide and responses to the National Student Survey.
It is noted that the report indicates that no changes can start to be made at the Hospital before April 14 and that some proposed changes will require considerable time to implement so we don’t envisage any immediate changes to our course provision or our ability to recruit students. Applications to our nursing and midwifery programmes have been particularly buoyant this year.
Meanwhile consultations are continuing on our Estates Strategy. We will take into account both the outcome for Stafford Hospital and the new education opportunities which are expected to form part of National Health Service reforms. A decision on the future development of the University is not due before the end of this year.