Regulator asked to look at A&E closure

Karen Partington, chief executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Karen Partington, chief executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Hospital bosses have asked regulator NHS Improvement to look into the continued closure of Chorley’s A&E department.

The unit has been shut since April due to staffing problems, leading to an influx of patients at Wigan Infirmary’s A&E department.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Chorley And South Ribble Hospital, had hoped to reopen the unit this month, but still does not have enough doctors.

The system resilience group “reviewed and carefully considered a detailed risk assessment of the potential options” and it was decided that the department should remain closed until at least April, when a review will take place.

Now, NHS Improvement have been asked to look at that risk assessment.

Karen Partington, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I have formally requested that NHS Improvement commissions an independent review of the risk assessment that resulted in the agreement that maintaining the current urgent care arrangements is the safest viable option for patients at this time.

“This review will provide additional assurance to all stakeholders, and most importantly to our patients, that all potential options for maintaining safe care have been carefully considered, and that everything possible is being done to reinstate the emergency department.”

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has asked the Government to step in to make sure Chorley’s A&E reopens, amid fears that it could be closed permanently.

There were 900 extra patients at Wigan’s A&E between April and June compared to the year before, with an average of 7.5 people per day said to come from Chorley or the surrounding area.