Calls to reassure patients over A&E closure threat

Under threat? Calls have been made to give a long-term assurances that Chorley and South Ribble's accident and emergency department will not close
Under threat? Calls have been made to give a long-term assurances that Chorley and South Ribble's accident and emergency department will not close

Council chiefs are demanding clarity from the Government over the future of Chorley and South Ribble’s accident and emergency department.

An emergency motion has been put forward after claims that a secret risk-assessment dossier puts its future in doubt.

Last night councillors voted to clarify the department would not close, as Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle warned a battle may lie ahead.

But hospital chiefs today remained firm in their stance that the accident and emergency department at Chorley and South Ribble District Hospital would not close.

Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Karen Partington said: “We have no plans to close the emergency department at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.

“Our focus is on providing excellent care with compassion and on ensuring that we provide the most effective services for patients.”

Concerns over a possible closure of the accident and emergency department were refuted back in April when Andrew Lansley, secretary of state for health visited Chorley to support a plan for a new health centre on Friday Street. But fears again surfaced this week after rumours a secret report existed which outlined risks involved in any closure.

Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “We have been hearing things for a long time. The latest rumours sound like it is a done deal.

“I have put forward an emergency motion to the council to write to the health minister and ask for assurance no decision has been made.

“We should retain an A&E department in Chorley and we will do everything we can to try and retain it is a proper working hospital. If it’s what it takes, there will be a battle.”

Coun Mark Perks, who represents Chorley North at Lancashire County Council said: “I am calling on them to refute the rumours and outline any closure of the A&E should not be considered and would not be in the public’s best interest.

“Travelling to Royal Preston Hospital is 14 miles too far and a dangerous practice as it is dependent on the motorways being always open.”

Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle said: “We all know there is no smoke without fire. Was this a plan from the health department in Whitehall?

“We don’t know whether this is sitting in someone’s drawer in London, but it has almost certainly come from somewhere.

“We have a wonderful hospital and wonderful staff. It has been my view that the hospital will not close, but the A&E will be under threat. I am not scaremongering, I am being factual. This is the hospital I was born in. It matters to me. And it matters to a lot of other people.”