Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust should be dissolved and its two hospitals taken over by neighbouring trusts, administrators have advised the government.
The move comes after the Trust - which runs Stafford and Cannock Chase hospitals - went into administration back in April because it was no longer deemed to be clinically or financially sustainable.
Administrators carrying out a review its future and the continued provision of services have now, in draft recommendations, concluded that the two hospitals should be run by other organisations, to help ensure the necessary clinical improvements as well as prevent the Trust’s problems "being displaced to another organisation".
Under the proposals, Stafford will retain its A&E department, which will continue to run from 8am to 10pm, but over the next two-three years maternity services will be phased out.
The level of critical care at Stafford should be reduced, leaving just a small section to stabilise very unwell patients who arrive at A&E or inpatients who become very ill before an urgent transfer to a larger hospital.
Children should no longer be admitted to Stafford Hospital as inpatients and the service should stop as soon as other local providers have capacity to accept them.
„An increased choice of consultants and specialists will be available at Stafford and Cannock Chase hospitals, with a greater range of specialties available to patients at Stafford Hospital, including the introduction of Orthopaedic surgery.
“Our guiding principles were to propose draft recommendations for safe services that are provided as near to patients’ homes as possible and within the available budget," noted administrator Professor Hugo Mascie-Taylor.
A public consultation on the proposals will run until the beginning of October, and ultimately it will be down to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to make the final call on whether to accept the recommendations.
Stafford Hospital was the subject of a £13-million, three-year investigation after it emerged that care failings led to the deaths of up to 1,200 patients.
The Francis inquiry made no less than 290 recommendations, and called for a "fundamental culture change" throughout the NHS to reduce the future risk to patients.