Councillors are urging hospital bosses to ensure all options relating to the future of the borough’s accident and emergency service are put before residents so any proposals can be properly considered.
Bosses at Chorley Council are keen to make sure any consultations involving future healthcare provision are properly consulted on with the pressure on local services a major concern for residents.
It comes after more than two years of campaigning to get Chorley’s A&E re-opened on a 24-hour basis.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “Whenever we speak to residents one of their major concerns is the pressure on public services such as schools, transport and health services.
“With our borough continuing to grow, and the Government wanting us to build even more homes we need to make sure the healthcare provision, particularly when it comes to the A&E services, which can be the difference between life and death, are properly resourced and close enough for our residents to access easily.
“It is right that the clinicians put forward their views but it’s vital that residents get to have their say on a number of options and aren’t presented with an option that for all intents and purposes has already been determined.”
The call comes as proposals to reorganise NHS services across Preston, Chorley and South Ribble are being considered with an option to have two urgent care centres but just one A&E.
Chorley Council has played a key role in supporting campaigners wanting the A&E to re-open 24 hours per day in Chorley and just 12 months ago bosses at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said there were no plans to close the A&E department at Chorley.
“Since the temporary closure and then partial re-opening I think the hospital bosses have lost a lot of trust from residents and it’s important they repair that by being completely open about the future plans for the A&E and put all options on the table,” said Councillor Bradley.
“You only have to switch on the news to see stories about long queues at A&E departments across the North West so it is important we increase the capacity of hospitals to be able to cope with the demand.
“The future of our hospitals is so important and we have to get it right otherwise we could see people suffering unnecessarily as a result and that is totally unacceptable.”
A formal consultation on proposed changes to the NHS in central Lancashire is expected to take place in the New Year.