Bosses at Chorley Council have slammed a decision to delay any re-opening of the A&E department at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and are calling on health officials to reopen it as soon as possible.
The news of the continued closure broke last week and councillors of all parties have come together to express their disappointment at the failure of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust to reopen the department in line with its target of this week.
The authority will now support the work of the local MPs to lobby ministers and health officials to get the much-needed facility open for residents.
Councillor Peter Wilson, Deputy Leader of Chorley Council, said: “We have seen our A&E closed twice by the trust in recent years and this has serious implications for our local residents.
“First we had the reduction of hours from 24-hour to a 12-hour service, then we had a proposal for a sham of a consultation, which was basically saying it would shut for good and now we’re being given the same excuses that we can’t find enough staff to run the unit.
“The trust has had years to sort this out and while I accept that the trust has been under financial pressures – the predicament the trust find itself in is not down to that alone – it has been caused by its inability to recruit staff to key roles.”
Chorley and South Ribble A&E has been operating on a part-time basis for more than three years and it was closed for much of 2016.
The closure and subsequent partial re-opening has put increasing pressure on neighbouring hospitals and left people needing emergency care queuing in ambulances to be seen by a doctor.
It was closed earlier this year in a bid to support the response to the pandemic with reassurances it would be back open by the end of September.
The notice of motion was supported by all members and Leader of the Opposition, Councillor John Walker, said residents were extremely concerned about what was happening and wanted to see action taken quickly.
“The subject of the A&E is one of the issues that we’ve seen residents feel more strongly about than pretty much anything else over the last few years,” said Councillor Walker.
“We had the staff to run the A&E prior to lockdown in March so why have we ended up in a position whereby we don’t even have enough staff to run it for 12 hours per day?
“We can’t wait until December for this to get sorted it must be addressed immediately and we’ll be supporting the three local MPs in lobbying the Government to get this sorted as soon as possible and eventually return to a 24-hour A&E.”