HOSPITAL LATEST: Call for answers on A&E's future
Calls have been made for hospital bosses to provide a 'clear action plan' and information about the future of Chorley And South Ribble Hospital's A&E department.
Chorley and South Ribble councils have joined forces to release a statement about the closure of the unit.
From 8am on Monday, it was downgraded to an urgent care centre, which cannot treat serious or life-threatening cases.
Instead, those patients have to be transported to surrounding hospitals at Preston, Blackburn, Bolton and Wigan.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital and Royal Preston Hospital, say it is temporary.
A statement on behalf of Chorley and South Ribble councils said: “We are extremely concerned by the ongoing closure of the A&E department at Chorley And South Ribble Hospital and are pressing for it to be reopened urgently.
“It affects residents and visitors to the area who will be faced with longer journey times or increased waiting times as more pressure is put on the services at the Royal Preston Hospital.
“We want to see a clear action plan as to what will be done to reopen the department and a more definite timescale as to when this will be done.
“We also want answers to the questions many people are asking about what the future holds for both Chorley And South Ribble and Preston hospitals.
“If there is any consideration being given to closing the A&E service at the Chorley site permanently, then it is important the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust is upfront and outlines their plans for what the future could hold so we, and our residents, can provide our input.
“Until this time, it is our view that the A&E service must continue to be provided at both sites to ensure residents get the best care possible in a timely manner.”
The statement was released ahead of a special meeting of Chorley Council to discuss the situation at the hospital. It will start at 5.30pm today at Chorley Town Hall.
A notice of motion submitted by council leader Coun Alistair Bradley and deputy Coun Peter Wilson states “alarm” that it has closed.
It says: “Given the concerns about treatment and quality of care for Chorley residents, we ask that the A&E department at Chorley Hospital is reopened as a matter of urgency.”
Preston And South Ribble Trades Council has called on the Government to “immediately provide a resolution which involves emergency measures to reinstate this critical service”.
Communications officer Derek Barton said: “We believe that the NHS not only should be a publicly funded and accountable service free from private and profit-motivated organisations and one that both serves and is fully accountable to the local community.
“We fully support the Protect Chorley Hospital From Cuts and Privatisation Campaign.”
Karen Partington, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have contacted local councils several times to provide updates about the pressures we are facing, the circumstances that led to the decision to temporarily change services at Chorley, what we’re doing to maintain safe patient care in the interim, and how we’re planning to resolve the issue.
“This morning we met with the councils, MPs and other stakeholders to provide further details, and we confirmed our absolute commitment to reinstating the emergency department as soon as we have enough doctors to provide a safe and sustainable service. Our extensive recruitment activities are ongoing, and we will continue to keep everyone up to date about the progress we’re making.”