COUNCILLORS are urging immediate action to re-open the borough’s A&E department saying the hospital trust has failed the residents of Chorley.
The authority hosted an extraordinary meeting this evening (Friday) as councillors of all political parties expressed their surprise and deep concern over the sudden closure.
It now wants bosses at the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust to leave no stone unturned as it tries to secure the extra doctors it needs to reinstate the life-saving department and give a timescale as to when it will re-open.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council and who was speaking on behalf of all political parties at the authority, said: “We are more than a week on since the closure was first announced and although we’ve got a long list of things the Trust is doing we now need to see some of this come to fruition.
“The re-opening of the A&E department is something that everyone in the borough feels very strongly about and I feel the Trust has let the people of Chorley down.
“When they spoke to us about the problem it was already too late and it came as a real surprise to everyone as we’d had reassurances the A&E department wouldn’t close just a week or so prior to this.
“We will do all we can to hold the Trust accountable and I’d urge residents to join together as we want them to know that the people of Chorley won’t accept what has happened.”
A special council meeting was called within hours of the news breaking last week and a notice of motion was debated that was supported by councillors of all political parties.
It states that there is deep concern that the problem at Chorley and South Ribble appears to be more acute than anywhere else and calls for the re-opening of the A&E department as a matter of urgency.
“It seems the hospital has been struggling with staffing for some time and it has tried to resolve the problems unsuccessfully without raising the severity of the situation soon enough,” said Councillor Bradley.
“What we need now is a clear plan for the future and for the Trust to be open and honest with residents about their intention to keep an A&E department open in Chorley.
“We think it’s vital that the service is maintained and I’m sure the Trust would agree that we can’t have a situation where people’s lives are being put at risk.
“They have committed to us that they will re-open the A&E department – the answer we want now is when is that going to happen.
“Our fight to get the A&E re-opened has unified the whole community in a way that we’ve not seen for many years and I think that underlines how important it is to residents to see a 24/7 emergency service reinstated as soon as possible.”
The notice of motion was agreed unanimously at Friday’s meeting and the council will continue to push for the A&E department to be opened at the earliest possible opportunity.
You can read the agenda papers for the meeting, which includes all the background information and notice of motion, here
.Information on changes to the A&E service
You can view more information on the changes, including what can and can't be treated at the urgent care centre, which is in operation between 8am and 8pm everyday in Chorley, on the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust website here