CHORLEY MP Lindsay Hoyle has accused the chairman of the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust of misleading both himself and a leading councillor about events surrounding the closure of the A&E unit at Chorley Hospital.
The MP took time out from parliamentary business to deliver his own hard-hitting evidence and views about the reasons behind the sudden closure of the unit five weeks ago during a meeting at County Hall
Speaking to Lancashire County Council’s health scrutiny committee, four weeks after Trust chief executive Karen Partington gave her evidence that a shortage of six medics had created the crisis, Mr Hoyle claimed there had been a failure of management at the Trust.
He revealed he had been alerted to the possible closure on March 31 – nearly three weeks before it closed on April 18 – after receiving a tip-off that staff had been called into meetings and been told about a possible shutdown due to shortages of doctors.
He said: “Staff had been told they must not speak to me. I was very concerned.”
At the time the Ms Partington told the Post incorrect information had been circulated that the department was closing – but that there were staffing difficulties.
Yesterday, Mr Hoyle said he had advised its chairman – Coun Steven Holgate – it was time to scrutinise what was happening back in March.
But the chairman had then been reassured that no closure was planned.
He said: “I feel the chairman was misled. I don’t believe the chief executive was honest enough with the chair. I think there’s a question there about relationship and the information that was given to the scrutiny committee.”
My Hoyle spoke for an hour saying he had pleaded with the Trust when he was finally informed about the imminent closure, that it should give himself and South Ribble MP Seema Kennedy time to see if they could avert the situation.
He added: “Tragically our pleas were ignored and it then went public. That’s where I genuinely believe it went wrong.”
He said the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was deeply concerned and wished to see the unit re-open. ‘Robust’ talks had been held with the Trust and he hoped the unit would reopen by August.
He said major problems were now being created at other local hospitals and he also highlighted an ambulance shortage.
Mr Hoyle pointed out that it took crucial time to transport patients across the county and said private ambulances at a cost of £75,000 a month were being used.
Earlier Jacky Hayden, Dean of Postgraduate Medical Studies, Health Education North West had explained that because Chorley accident and emergency unit does not provide not provide certain specialist care it could not offer appropriate training placements sought by some doctors.