HEALTH chiefs have said they expect that an increase in patient numbers at Burton's Queen's Hospital accident and emergency department will only have a 'minimal impact'.
Staff at the Belvedere Road site revealed that they had plans in place to deal with an additional influx of patients being diverted to the site as a result of ambulances being sent away from Stafford Hospital to ease pressure on its accident and emergency unit due to several issues.
Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) made the decision after Stafford Hospital reported a shortage of nursing staff.
It said patient safety was a priority and that it was a temporary move.
Helen Ashley, chief executive at Burton's Queen's Hospital, said: "We have been working closely with our local partners on a temporary solution to relieve the pressure on Stafford A&E department.
"We anticipate the impact of our solution will be minimal on additional attendances at the trust's A&E department and hospital wards."
The CCG said it had looked at various postcode areas along with West Midlands Ambulance Service and hospital managers to see where ambulances could be transferred.
It said patients in the south of the county would go to New Cross, in Wolverhampton, and Queen's Hospital would take emergencies from the east.
Cheryl Porter, from the Support Stafford Hospital campaign group, said she believed it was a "dangerous situation".
She said: "I don't believe that surrounding hospitals can cope. They are all lacking the capacity to deal with patients from their own towns as it is."