A Wigan MP has slammed the “level of inaction” surrounding the current closure of a nearby town’s A&E unit.
Lisa Nandy called for something to be done to ease the pressure on Wigan Infirmary, as health bosses in Lancashire confirmed Chorley And South Ribble Hospital’s A&E will not open next month as planned.
She has written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
She said: “Since Chorley A&E closed, we have seen an increase in the number of patients attending Wigan and other hospitals in the region, placing a strain on resources when departments are already under pressure.
“I have previously asked Jeremy Hunt to intervene and ensure this mess is sorted as quickly as possible.
“The level of inaction on a matter this serious is astonishing.”
Chorley’s A&E shut temporarily in April amid staffing problems and was replaced with an urgent care centre, which cannot treat patients in a serious or life-threatening condition.
Patients have instead been taken to other hospitals in the area.
Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust has twice asked people to stay away from A&E unless they are seriously ill due to “unprecedented demand” in recent months, with the closure of Chorley’s A&E given as a contributing factor.
Mary Fleming, director of operations and performance, said: “Wigan Infirmary A&E department has seen in excess of 900 more patients in quarter one (April to June) than the same period last year.
“Some of the increase in demand is driven by the closure of Chorley A&E, which is directly on the Wigan borough border.
“Around 7.5 patients per day of the additional attendees are from Chorley or the surrounding areas.”
Chorley’s A&E department was expected to reopen at the end of next month.
But Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, has now admitted that the number of trainee doctors joining in August will not be enough to reopen A&E.
They do not know when it will reopen and will instead look at how to enhance the services currently available.
Campaigners have claimed it could be January before the unit reopens.
At a meeting this week campaign group Protect Chorley Hospital From Cuts And Privatisation called for the resignation of bosses at the trust, claiming they have not been working hard enough to recruit the necessary staff.
Campaign organiser Steve Turner said: “People are extremely angry that our A&E might not be reopened in August. Despite all the promises that have been made by the trust, we were told at the meeting that it now may not open until January, by a reliable source.”