Council boss calls on Prime Minister for A&E talk

Photo KEVIN McGUINNESS
Accident and Emergency, Chorley Hospital

Photo KEVIN McGUINNESS Accident and Emergency, Chorley Hospital

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The chief executive of Lancashire County Council is seeking an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister and Health Secretary to discuss the closure of Chorley A&E.

Jo Turton has made the move after a motion seeking the action was passed by full council on Thursday.

Steve Holgate

Steve Holgate

County Council Steve Holgate, chairman of the council’s health scrutiny committee, proposed the motion.

He believes the situation in Chorley, where there are not enough specialists to continue running an A&E department safetly, is “an early symptom of an emerging national problem in the NHS.”

He wants to see the Government to rethink recruitment policies.

He said: “I think Chorley has been unfortunate in that a series of issues have come together at the same time, but I believe its one of many, many A&Es across the country that are on the verge of toppling over the edge.

“The NHS is struggling to recruit and retain staff, which is related to the number of training places being reduced.

“If there aren’t enough staff in the NHS our next step is to go to Europe, but a lot of their training doesn’t fit in with our A&E culture and very often they don’t stay.

“The third and final resort is to go places like the Indian sub continent, Canada and Australia, typically former colonies where the culture of training and A&E is embedded.

“We need a conversation that in the short term we need to be looking more at these people and stop our reliance on locums. They only have to give a few days notice and how can you organise a roster on that basis?”