Chorley A&E reopening date confirmed - but it won't be back to normal straight away
The A&E department at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital will reopen on 2nd November, it has been announced.
However, the unit – which has functioned on a part-time basis since 2017 – will initially return on even further reduced hours.
The facility will operate between 8am and 5pm, seven days a week – as opposed to the 12-hour-a-day opening time in force when the department shut completely at the end of March as the pandemic grew.
Even after the reopening, children and young people needing A&E services will continue to be taken to the Royal Preston for treatment, but the Chorley urgent care centre will remain open to them.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals (LTH) announced in August that it was “working towards” reopening Chorley A&E by the end of September. But that target was missed after only half of the additional number of staff needed to operate new Covid and non-Covid areas in the unit had been recruited by that point.
As the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) revealed last week, seven out of the required 12 “senior decision-maker” posts had been filled, but only two had started work – with the remainder arriving this month and next. Four other offers have been made and are awaiting a response.
The LDRS understands that those figures remain unchanged, but use will be made of locums in order to facilitate the 2nd November reopening date. No timescale has yet been put on a return to 12-hour opening.
Karen Partington, LTH chief executive, said: said that trust was delivering on its promise to reopen the A&E as soon as a “safe solution” was found.
“This phased approach enables us to offer an 8-5pm adults-only A&E service to the local community from 2nd November, whilst continuing our recruitment campaign for the senior decision-makers that we need to offer a 12 hour service.
“This has only been possible because of many months of hard work by colleagues across the trust, particularly our emergency department team who have all gone above and beyond during this pandemic – I cannot thank them enough.
“I’d also like to thank our local community for their on-going support during these unprecedentedtimes.”
The trust has undertaken a £970,000 revamp of the facility to ensure that it can operate in Covid-secure conditions.
The LDRS revealed last week that NHS England had ordered that Chorley A&E must reopen before a consultation could begin into its long-term future – and possible permanent closure.