We are putting the terrible tragedy of the old Mid Staffs behind us, and I congratulate my hon. Friend and the staff at the hospital on their superb efforts under a great deal of pressure. We are also investing over £300 million in the Staffordshire health economy, and the local trust and commissioners are making good progress on implementing the recommendations made by the trust special administrators.
I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply. He will have seen the reports over the weekend on the severe pressure on accident and emergency services at the Royal Stoke University hospital, while Stafford’s County hospital A&E often meets the 95% four-hour target. The trust special administrators assured us that the Royal Stoke would have the capacity to cope with additional patients from Stoke and Stafford. Given that that is not the case, will the Secretary of State ensure that A&E in Stafford is reopened to operate 24/7 as soon as is clinically possible?
I share my hon. Friend’s concern about what is happening at the Royal Stoke. Some of the care there was totally unacceptable; there should be no 12-hour trolley waits anywhere in the NHS. I have said that I support a full 24/7 A&E service at County hospital as soon as we can find a way of doing it that is clinically safe, and I will certainly work hard to do everything I can to make that happen.