'˜Closing this site will put more patients at risk'
The MP for South Ribble has slammed the decision to close Chorley Hospital A&E 'without consultation'.
The Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been facing a staffing crisis, and workers were told on Wednesday that the A&E department at Chorley would be downgraded to an Urgent Care Centre from Monday.
It will open between 8am and 8pm and will be able to treat minor injuries and illness, but not life-threatening situations.
Seema Kennedy said: “I have been informed that Accident and Emergency services at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital are to close from Monday due to a staffing shortage.
“I understand that patient safety is paramount but closing this site will put more patients at risk than offering a reduced capacity as the 50,000 people reliant on Chorley and South Ribble will now have to travel further when they need emergency care.
“I was only advised of this situation by hospital management at a very late stage when the situation had already reached crisis point and there was little room for intervention.
“This process has happened too quickly and without consultation when people have not had time to plan.
“A staffing shortage is not something that has happened overnight and stakeholders should have been made aware much earlier rather than this late in the day.
“I have asked management to consider all options to bring in extra staff.
“I would ask them to continue to do so with the utmost urgency required.
“I have spoken to the Secretary of State for Health and will continue speaking to him to see if we can find a way to keep the services open.
“I call urgently on the hospital management to restore services to Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.”
A statement from the Trust confirmed the emergency department at Chorley would be “temporarily replaced by an urgent care service until the staffing crisis is resolved”.
It said: “The urgent care service will be provided at the urgent care centre, at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.
“The service will be provided by a combination of emergency department consultants, nurse practitioners, GPs, nurses and healthcare assistants.
“The vast majority of people who currently attend the emergency department at Chorley have conditions that can be treated safely and appropriately by an urgent care service.