‘We won’t give up our fight’

Chorley Hospital A&E protest
Chorley Hospital A&E protest
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Campaigners fighting to save Chorley A&E have vowed not to give up their demonstrations, despite claims the department will reopen this summer.

Hospital bosses have announced it could be open again by the end of August, subject to conditions.

The town’s A&E was closed in April due to an acute staffing crisis, and has been downgraded to an urgent care centre ever since.

A statement from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says, providing certain conditions are met, the unit could be open again by the end of August.

But campaigners say the announcement will have no impact on their demonstrations, and will continue to protest outside the hospital until the department is open again.

Steven Turner, of Protect Chorley Hospital Against Cuts and Privatisation, said: “At the end of the day, it’s whether all conditions come together so the Trust can reopen it.

“The Trust needs to prove to us that they can deliver what they say they can, because we have doubts about that and the demonstrations will continue. The campaign group is getting stronger and stronger, and our mandate is we won’t stop demonstrations until the A&E is reopen.”

Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle said: “I think there is a bit of panic among them (the Trust), I think the pressure is on.

“I would have hoped for the beginning of August and not the end, but let’s make sure it actually reopens, that’s the main priority.”

Karen Partington, chief executive of the Trust, said it was a “challenging period”, and said: “It’s clear how important the emergency department is to the Chorley community - people have made their views clear at the weekly protests, and we’ve received lots of letters and emails expressing concern.

“I’d like to assure everyone that our board is committed to reinstating the emergency department as soon as we have enough doctors to provide a safe and sustainable service, and we’re doing everything possible to make those appointments.”

A march against the closure will start from Astley Park at 1pm on Saturday.