Lancashire A&E department ‘not closing’ despite staff shortage fears

Chorley Hospital
Chorley Hospital
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Staff at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital have been told that its A&E department will not be closing – despite acute staff shortages that brought it to the brink.

The hospital has many unfilled vacancies, and was nearing the point where it would not have been able to safely operate an Accident & Emergency department.

However Trust bosses went to the hospital today to reassure staff in the face of fears of closure.

Karen Partington, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have not taken any decision to close the Emergency Department at either of our hospitals.

“I can, however, confirm that we are currently facing significant staff shortages within our medical workforce. Whilst we have continued to proactively recruit to our vacancies, a number of factors including national shortages in Emergency Department doctors and the recent introduction of capped agency rates have affected our ability to fully staff our emergency departments at both hospitals.

“Patient safety is our top priority and we are now in a position where we are struggling to staff both of our emergency departments [Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital]. We have initially taken the decision to breach the national agency cap in an attempt to secure immediate medical staff cover to prevent patient safety issues. We will be working with the senior clinical team and our commissioners to consider all the options available to us to enable us to continue to provide safe care on both sites.

“Understandably staff are concerned and unfortunately incorrect information has been circulated that the department is closing. Our senior team has met with staff today to confirm the decision that we will breach the agency cap in an attempt to cover rotas, and that we have not taken any decision to close the department.”