Stafford Hospital: Treatment figures cut from report

By Michele Paduano
BBC Midlands health correspondent

Media caption,
Support Stafford Hospital campaigners are considering a legal challenge based on the discrepancies

Data showing the number of children treated at Stafford Hospital was removed from an official paediatrics report without consent, it has emerged.

The number of people using Stafford Hospital was one of the reasons given for the recent downgrading.

Support Stafford Hospital campaigners are considering a legal challenge based on the discrepancies.

The Trust Special Administrators (TSA) apologised and said it was an innocent mistake made by a junior worker.

In a statement, the TSA said "more up-to-date" information was sent out in the revised version of the Service Specification Document for Paediatrics report which was produced in February.

'Consequences of figures'

An agreement has now been reached between the TSA and staff on the correct numbers.

But the TSA declined to reveal what the agreed numbers are or who signed off the changes to the original documents.

The BBC has been shown what are believed to be the latest agreed figures, which show around 3,000 more episodes of activity.

Over the past year, there has been a history of challenging the official Trust Special Administrators figures.

A response challenging the July 2013 TSA Draft report was produced in September 2013.

The TSA said clarifications were made in the final report which went to the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt which "was accurate".

Campaigners claim the numbers were not made clear.

Plans to dissolve the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, which runs Stafford Hospital, were approved by the Secretary of State on 26 February.

'Honest error'

The plan is for all children who need to stay in hospital for 24 hours to be treated in Stoke, Wolverhampton or Walsall in future.

Cheryl Porter, from the Support Stafford Hospital group, said: "I would like to think by now that Jeremy Hunt and Monitor know the true figures and if that is the case, they should be looking again at paediatrics."

Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy said: "We need to see what are the consequences of these revised figures.

"Clearly, we have to see that the TSA proposals are now measured against these revised figures."

In a statement, the TSA said while compiling the Service Specification Document for Paediatrics a junior member of the team "made an honest error and replaced some figures with more up-to-date data from an approved Trust source; however, they did not notify the Department that this had been done."

It said: "As soon as this error was identified it was corrected in consultation with the Trust's paediatric team."

"We are therefore satisfied that the error did not result in material differences and has no impact on subsequent assessments of the service....the data presently being used by all parties is accurate."

When asked for the correct figures and who authorised the original document, the TSA press office said it would not be supplying any further updates.