EMERGENCY medical chiefs have expressed alarm over the NHS staffing problems which caused the closure of Chorley’s A&E unit.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has commented on the crisis after the emergency department at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital was forced to temporarily downgrade to an urgent care centre because it does not have enough medics.
Dr Clifford Mann, RCEM president, said: “The default solution of closure and merger of A&Es is destabilising those that remain. In the case of Chorley it is Wigan hospital that has been most affected.”
The hospital said providing a service without enough doctors would be “negligent” and put patients at “unacceptable risk”.
After the closure in April, Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust began diverting ambulances to Preston and Wigan, putting major strains on them.
Dr Mann added that forcing trusts to do better does not create more emergency doctors.
He said: “There are no quick solutions.
“To recruit and retain more emergency doctors, advanced clinical practitioners and emergency nurse practitioners will require hospitals to be paid for the acute care of ill patients - not financially penalised.
“Fully funding emergency care is the only way to ensure frontline resources are available to all patients with acute health care needs.
“The current funding model is neither efficient nor effective. Current staffing is neither adequate nor sustainable. Current expectations of A&E departments are undeliverable.”
The comments come after NHS documents highlighted issues with another A&E.
Health regulators have threatened to remove junior doctors from North Middlesex Hospital’s A&E for lacking basic skills and performing tasks they were not trained for.