Since 18 April when the accident and emergency (A&E) department at Chorley Hospital had to close unexpectedly due to a shortage of middle grade doctors, the local System Resilience Group (SRG) has been meeting weekly to review the staffing position, the actions being taken to reinstate the service, and the impact of the temporary changes for both Chorley and Royal Preston Hospitals.
Despite extensive and continuous efforts to recruit the additional staff required, there are still not enough doctors to reinstate a safe and sustainable Chorley A&E department. There are currently only two permanent middle grade doctors in post, and seven are needed.
Today (Wednesday 3 August 2016) the SRG reviewed and carefully considered a detailed risk assessment of the potential options for the ongoing delivery of the emergency and urgent care services at Chorley Hospital. The SRG has agreed that it has no other realistic option but to maintain the current service of an 8am until 8pm urgent care service at Chorley Hospital as the best way of ensuring the delivery of safe and sustainable care for patients. This will be reviewed again in April 2017.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals will continue to do everything possible to recruit the staff required to enable the department to be reinstated.
A new integrated urgent care service, currently being commissioned by the CCGs, will provide a 24/7 urgent care service in the future on both the Chorley and Royal Preston Hospital sites. Further announcements and information on this will be announced once the legal ‘standstill’ period for this procurement is complete.
Members of the SRG understand the impact of this situation and the uncertainties it brings for staff and local communities, and thank them all for their continued understanding and patience. The efforts and commitment of all staff in maintaining a safe and effective service for patients under difficult circumstances is also recognised.
If any permanent change to services were to be considered, this would only be carried out subject to a full public consultation. In the meantime, if anyone wishes to share their views, they can do so via the CCGs’ websites:
Jan Ledward, Chair of the System Resilience Group
Karen Partington, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Our FAQs have been updated on this page Temporary changes to Chorley Emergency Department
Local Negotiating Committee letter from our hospital consultants about the change;
Medical Staffing Advisory Committee letter from our hospital consultants about the change;