A&E services for under-18s at County Hospital in Stafford have been suspended because "senior clinicians have advised that the service is not currently clinically safe".
University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust began the suspension at 10am today (Thursday), as there is a lack of "professionally trained and experienced staff". This temporary change is not impacting adult A&E services and remains open.
The trust said a clinical model implemented as part of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Special Administrator recommendations has been deemed "unviable" following a number of safety concerns highlighted in a draft report by the West Midlands Quality Review Service.
These concerns relate to the "lack of sufficient numbers of staff with very specific levels of paediatric and anaesthetic training, including resuscitation and life-support competencies"
Senior clinicians have spoken to staff in detail around the issues highlighted and found the concerns raised by the report "cannot be addressed in the short term", and have led to the temporary suspension of the children's A&E service, said the trust.
Chief nurse and acting deputy chief executive Liz Rix has spoken about the issue.
"I fully appreciate the impact these temporary changes will have on families in Stafford and the surrounding area, and understand that people will be very concerned about this news," she explained. "However, we cannot and will not continue to deliver services without the confidence that those services are safe.
"I want to thank my fellow clinical colleagues for reviewing the situation and for their advice, which has led to us taking this difficult short-term decision.
"This allows us the space to examine future options for safe children's services at County Hospital with input from our staff, regulators and partners."