County Hospital in Stafford has suspended Accident and Emergency services for children, after senior clinicians advised that "the service is not currently clinically safe".
The interim measure is the result of a lack of sufficient numbers of staff "with very specific levels of paediatric and anaesthetic training, including resuscitation and life-support competencies," the hospital said.
The clinical model at the hospital for child emergency services - implemented as part of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust Special Administrator recommendations - has been deemed currently unviable, following a number of safety concerns highlighted in a draft report by the West Midlands Quality Review Service (WMQRS).
"I fully appreciate the impact these temporary changes will have on families in Stafford and the surrounding area, and understand that people will be very concerned about this news," said Liz Rix, chief nurse and acting deputy chief executive. "However, we cannot and will not continue to deliver services without the confidence that those services are safe."
In a statement, Dr Clifford Mann, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said the move is "regrettable but sensible as inadequate staffing could potentially put patients at risk".
"The decision is one that no-one wants, especially patients, but a course of action that is being forced on managers. All of the stories we have seen over recent weeks have one common theme – a lack of staff. There simply aren't enough doctors at a national level to cope with demand.
"Urgent action is now essential and responsibility must be collective. There is a national crisis in the provision of emergency care and resource and staffing issues must be urgently addressed".
County Hospital's move to restrict its A&E access following similar recent decision by Grantham and District hospital in Lincolnshire, which shut its A&E unit overnight, and Chorley Hospital in Lancashire, which downgraded to an urgent care centre, both because of staff shortages.
Local commissioners and Member of Parliament for Stafford Jeremy Lefroy MP have now been briefed and have asked the Trust to provide them with a detailed plan for next steps, which is to be shared with the public and other stakeholders when available.