The special administrators charged with working out how to deliver long-term healthcare at the troubled Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust have been given more time to come up with a blueprint.

The health regulator Monitor said it had agreed to a request from the special administrators at the trust, giving them an extra 30 days to draw up a financially and clinically viable plan to deliver healthcare at the two hospitals it runs - Stafford Hospital and Cannock Chase Hospital.

Monitor said it had agreed to the extension, and an extra 10 days of public consultation time, because it recognised "the scale of the challenge" the Trust Special Administrators (TSAs) had taken on.

The regulator appointed the TSAs in April after an independent review found the trust could not survive long-term in its current form.

That review followed the damning conclusions of the Francis Report which highlighted the "appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people" at Stafford Hospital, between 2005 and 2009, where hundreds of patients may have needlessly died because they were "routinely neglected".

Dr David Bennett, chief executive at Monitor, said: "The TSAs have been set a complex and challenging task and, while any delay is frustrating for patients and staff, it is important to get it right for local patients.

"Monitor's board recognised the scale of the challenges in identifying a solution that meets the needs of the local health economy and asked us to exercise even greater scrutiny at this critical stage."

Alan Bloom, one of the joint TSAs, welcomed Monitor's decision and said draft recommendations would now be published at the end of July.

Sue Hawkins, chairman of Support Stafford Hospital campaign which wants to retain acute care at Stafford Hospital, said it was unhappy the recommendations had been delayed but wanted administrators to get the decision "absolutely right".

She added: "We welcome the extension of the consultation period to enable people on holiday to add their voices. Meanwhile our campaign continues."