Residents in Chorley, South Ribble and Greater Preston are urged to use NHS services appropriately to help manage demand on hospital services, as the emergency department is reinstated on a 12 hour basis at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.
New 24 hour, seven day a week urgent care centres have also opened at both Chorley and Preston hospitals today (18 January 2017) and will treat patients who need urgent care but don’t need to be seen in the emergency departments.
The emergency department at Chorley Hospital was temporarily replaced by an interim urgent care centre in April 2016 because there were not enough middle grade doctors to staff the rotas, which meant a safe and sustainable service could not be delivered.
The NHS England and NHS Improvement review published in September identified that the emergency department could reopen on a 12 hour basis, and it was agreed that the opening of the new urgent care centres provided a good opportunity to do this.
The urgent care centres will bring extra clinicians to services, increasing overall service capacity and providing some staffing stability.
Since April, extensive recruitment activities have continued. One permanent middle grade doctor has been appointed, a further two on a temporary basis, and five nursing staff recruited. One additional doctor is progressing through the recruitment process and is likely to be offered a contract in the coming weeks.
Karen Partington, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said, “This has been a very challenging period for local patients, the wider community, partner organisations, and for our staff. The decision to temporarily replace the emergency department at Chorley with an interim urgent care service was a very difficult one to make, but was the best option to maintain patient safety.
“We recognise that this temporary change has been a matter of great concern for local people and the wider community, and we sincerely apologise for the anxiety this has caused.
“The establishment of the new urgent care centres at both hospitals will increase the level of service local patients are able to access, and provides us with an opportunity to reinstate the emergency department for 12 hours a day at Chorley Hospital.
“We wish to thank local health and care organisations, as well as other local hospitals, for their support in maintaining safe and effective care for patients during this period. We also thank local patients, their families and the wider community for their commitment, and passion for ensuring a high quality health service is provided for local residents.”
Jan Ledward, Chief Officer of the Clinical Commissioning Groups across Chorley, South Ribble and Greater Preston said: “We are pleased to be able to offer residents in our area access to urgent care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and an emergency department at Chorley Hospital on an 8am to 8pm basis.
“As always at this time of year, the NHS continues to be under pressure due to increased demand, so we are asking people to use services wisely. There are many things people can do to help themselves stay well, such as completing and complying with courses of prescribed medication and seeking help as soon as they start to feel unwell. People should contact NHS 111 in the first instance for advice and guidance.
“If people do need urgent or emergency care, the new integrated service at both hospital sites will ensure that they are seen by the most appropriate clinician for their need. This will ultimately help reduce the pressure on our emergency departments.”