Chorley A&E returns to pre-Covid opening hours
The accident and emergency department at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital has returned to its pre-pandemic opening times.
The facility is now operating 12 hours a day for the first time in almost a year.
The unit closed completely at the end of March 2020 as part of a plan to focus Covid-related care in Central Lancashire on the Royal Preston - and enable a 400 percent increase in critical-level bed capacity in the region.
Chorley A&E reopened in November last year, but its already part-time hours were reduced further to 8am-5pm. However, the doors at the Euxton Lane site are once again now open between 8am and 8pm seven days a week.
Under-18s and pregnant women requiring emergency care will continue to be taken to the Royal Preston, which Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LTH) says will ensure that they receive “the best care in the right place”.
Patients suffering complex fractures or major trauma injuries are automatically treated in Preston at the specialist facilities available there for that purpose.
The round-the clock urgent care centre at Chorley continues to be available for adults and children with minor ailments.
A meeting of Central Lancashire's clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) last week heard that the number of people attending Chorley A&E remains "low" at an average of 31 per day during January and February.
LTH chief executive Karen Partington said that the unit’s return to its previous opening hours had been enabled by the assistance of other NHS trusts across Lancashire, which she thanked.
She added: “We promised that we would return the emergency department at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital to a 12-hour service and we are delivering upon that promise.
“The move to a 12-hour operating model is possible because of many months of hard work by colleagues across the Trust, particularly the Emergency Department team who have all gone above and beyond during this pandemic.”
Recruitment of 12 so-called "senior decision-making" medics was required to restart services at Chorley A&E last year. That was to enable rotas to be staffed safely across both the Chorley and Preston sites.
Shortly before reopening, seven of those posts had been filled and LTH said the remainder would be covered by locums while attempts were made to appoint to the outstanding roles.
The Post has requested an update on the current position.