Protestors trying to get Chorley hospital’s A&E reopened took their campaign to Royal Preston Hospital yesterday, June 2.
Campaigners took their fight to Preston to demand the immediate re-instatement of the A&E department at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, after it closed temporarily in April due to staffing issues.
The department was downgraded to an urgent care centre and ambulances are now taking patients to Royal Preston Hospital.
Weekly protests have been taking place at the hospital in Chorley, but the rally was taken to Preston “to send a clear message” to Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust bosses who are based at the site.
Jay Mayren, an organiser of the Preston protest, said the group is getting lots of support from the public.
He said: “We have been campaigning every week outside Chorley and South Ribble Hospital but we have felt that it’s now time to bring that to Preston as well to send that message to the leadership team that what is happening is absolutely appalling.
“The trust has not provided any meaningful updates as to the current situation regarding the A&E department at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital or provided any reassurance to the community, including the most vulnerable in our society who are understandably anxious at the loss of the A&E services at the hospital.
“The campaign is resonating with other people, we’ve currently joined links with ‘Save Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’ campaign and we’re joining in with other campaigns and what we’re finding is that its a common theme across the country the number of A&E departments under threat of closure is in double figures.
“People are realising that once it’s gone, it’s gone, and we need to do something about it now.
“Whilst I accept patient safety should come first on each and every occasion, what I simply do not accept is the current situation has happened overnight but is instead down to a collective failure of planning, organising and management on the part of the trust’s leadership team.
“I have again called for Karen Partington, the CEO of Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Trust to step down with immediate effect over her handling of the crisis.”
The Emergency Department at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital was temporarily replaced by an Urgent Care Centre on April 18, because the hospital trust doesn’t have enough staff for its emergency departments.
But a spokesman for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals said the centre is able to provide a variety of treatments for many minor injuries, and residents of Chorley and the surrounding areas can access this service whilst plans are being put in place for the reinstatement of the emergency department.
Professor Mark Pugh, consultant anaesthetist and medical director of the trust, said, “We are continuing to do everything we can to recruit and retain the additional staff required to reinstate the emergency department at Chorley in a safe and sustainable manner.
“Whilst recruitment activities are ongoing, along with our partner agencies we’ve mobilised the urgent care service. We have made changes at Royal Preston Hospital to accommodate any additional patients and we will continue to provide safe and effective care.”
A hospital spokesman added that discussions are continuing to take place to ensure the “safe and timely reinstatement of the emergency department”. T
The Urgent Care Centre is open 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.
Outside of these hours, patients should phone 111 for advice or 999 in a life-threatening emergency.
For more information about the temporary changes, visit www.lancsteachinghospitals.nhs.uk/temporary-changes-to-chorley-emergency-department.