Over 50,000 campaigners marched through the streets of streets of Stafford on Saturday to protest plans to downgrade Stafford Hospital.
The trust in charge of the hospital was put into administration on 15 April by healthcare regulator Monitor, and is now run by physician Dr Hugo Mascie-Taylor and Alan Bloom of Ernst & Young.
David Bennett, chief executive of Monitor said: “We have taken this decision to make sure that patients in the Mid Staffordshire area have the services they need in the future. There will be a full public consultation on any proposals for change.”
The rally included Support Stafford Hospital campaigners, members of staff from Stafford Hospital, former and current patients, and Stafford townspeople.
Saturday’s march follows a report published in February by Monitor which advised the closure of acute services including the A&E department.
Services such as A&E, emergency surgery and maternity are due to be transferred to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UNHS).
The Contingency Planning Team (CPT) report to Monitor last month stated staffing levels at the hospitals were insufficient to meet required standards in the long term, considering the current range of services and number of patients.
Administrator Ernst & Young have less than nine weeks to rule on how financial and clinical challenges facing the hospital will be dealt with and will then hold a six-week consultation.
The march organisers, Support Stafford Hospital group, have promised further protests to come in the future.