Health Secretary urged to act over 'temporary' closure of Chorley A&E

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been urged to look into the "temporary" closure of Chorley Hospital's A&E department during the coronavirus crisis.

Saturday, 25th April 2020, 6:00 am
Chorley's A&E department has been closed during the Covid-19 crisis.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has called for Government action after describing the move by the local health trust three weeks ago as "outrageous."

The Chorley MP claims a letter he wrote to the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust "some time ago" asking important questions has been ignored.

"I've had no response whatsoever," he stormed. "You can get a Prime Minister to respond to you - and anyone in government.

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"Yet can you get the people in our local health trust to reply? No.

"So I have put in a complaint to the Secretary of State saying it is totally unacceptable.

"I still think this is the only A&E in the country that is closed during all this.

"Why is it that every other expert has said keep A&E open except ours? Why are we at odds with the rest of the country on this?

"I would like to know what has been gained by what has been done. Did they act too quickly without any evidence that concentrating all cases at Preston would work?

"And I also want to know what is temporary and when will it end?"

The part-time A&E at Chorley was closed at the end of March to make the Royal Preston Hospital the focus of the fight against Covid-19 in central Lancashire.

Staff from Chorley were transferred to Preston, which was already one of the busiest A&E departments in the North West.

Sir Lindsay isn't the only local MP to have voiced concern about the closure. It is believed South Ribble's Katherine Fletcher, Preston's Sir Mark Hendrick and Nigel Evans from Ribble Valley have also written to the Trust questioning the decision.

A spokesman for the Trust said: "We've been very clear about the reasons for the temporary reconfiguration of services at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital as part of response to Covid-19.

"We will of course be liaising with our local MPs and other key stakeholders about the safe reinstatement of services once this major incident has been stood down."