Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Board met on Monday 21 September to discuss progress made towards the re-opening of the Emergency Department at Chorley and South Ribble District General Hospital. The unit has been temporarily closed since Wednesday 1 April as part of the Trust’s response to the pandemic.
The Trust has been working towards a September 2020 re-opening subject to a number of assurances around estates work, safe staffing levels and levels of coronavirus. Significant progress has been made.
However, we are disappointed to confirm that we are unable to re-open the Emergency Department at Chorley and South Ribble District General Hospital at the end of September 2020. We have made considerable progress with the recruitment of nursing staff and clinical fellows but unfortunately have only recruited half of the middle grade doctors and consultants that we need to open safely. Patient safety will always be our top priority. The Board also took into account rising levels of coronavirus locally and nationally which has subsequently meant the national alert level has risen from 3 to 4.
The Trust Board remains committed to restoring services as quickly as possible, based on regular, formal reviews, and is grateful for the continued support offered by local MPs in terms of promoting the recruitment campaign.
In taking this decision, the Trust Board benefitted from the external, detailed, scrutiny provided by NHS England and Improvement as its regulators; oversight from the local Clinical Commissioning Groups; and independent clinical evidence provided by the Emergency Care Improvement Support Team (ECIST). The Board also considered the current and growing impact of Coronavirus at the Trust.
Confirming today’s announcement, Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said:
“We know that many local residents will share our disappointment that it is not possible to re-open the service at this time. We fully accept the views put to us by our expert clinical staff, supported by further independent clinical evidence. We are grateful for the support of our regulators and commissioners in making the right decision to protect patients at this time.
“Despite this setback, the Trust Board is steadfast in its commitment to investing in Chorley and South Ribble. £25 million is being invested in a new Midwifery Centre due to open next month, a new Ophthalmology Centre is due to open next October, whilst new theatres will help us to deliver more and better elective care on the site.
“Our Urgent Care Centre at Chorley will remain open 24 hours a day and can provide prompt and timely treatment of minor injury and illness. Royal Preston Hospital will continue to provide its Accident and Emergency service.”
More information about the services available at Chorley’s Urgent Care Centre, including what type of minor injuries and illnesses can be treated, is available here: https://www.lancsteachinghospitals.nhs.uk/latest-news/services-available-at-chorley-south-ribble-hospitals-urgent-care-centre-4678
For urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if you're unable to get help online. For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance.