STAFFORDSHIRE’S Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis says he wants a rethink of plans from NHS England to move where child victims of serious sexual abuse are examined.
Concerns were raised with the PCC by Stoke-on-Trent MPs and city councillors, because it would mean crucial medical examinations of children, who are believed to have suffered sexual abuse, would move from facilities in the city to Walsall, in the West Midlands.
Mr Ellis said: ‘NHS England have been working with officials from a variety of partner agencies on these proposals. I’ve not been aware of the detail and I am grateful colleagues from Stoke-on-Trent raised concerns with me directly.
‘The move from Cobridge to Walsall would mean police need to take some child victims on a long journey into the West Midlands rather than locally. Having looked at this in detail I also understand that victims from the south of Staffordshire have, for years, gone all the way up to Stoke-on-Trent, which is an even longer journey.
‘I accept that numbers are, thankfully, very small, but it seems to me other alternatives, which would potentially improve the things for both the north of Staffordshire and the south, have been dismissed during the process.
‘I have now instructed officials in my office to work with the police here to encourage NHS England to rethink the alternative options, which I understand need greater flexibility from paediatricians in Staffordshire.
‘There are options, which have been dismissed, during this work that could be a mix of existing proposals that would benefit the north and the south of the county. I think those are well worth revisiting.’