Chairman Statement – Response to the closure of Chorley Accident and Emergency Department
Mike Wedgeworth, Chair of Healthwatch Lancashire, says:
Nobody likes to read news about their Accident and Emergency department closing.
But a cool look at what is going on, as against blood-curdling hype, reveals that there are just not enough qualified staff to provide an emergency service at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.
It’s tempting, and perhaps only natural and normal, to protest: to mount the barricades to demand that the closure should be reversed…… immediately.
Some seem to think that we should not let a few facts stand in the way of a good story.
But the facts are these:
Demand for hospital care is rising as people live longer and experience long-term sickness.
Every A and E Department is under huge pressure: just ask Royal Blackburn Hospital.
The NHS is expected to save money: multi – millions!
There is a national shortage of qualified staff in most specialties in the NHS.
The way these staff are spread across the country is unfair, with more in the South of England and even in other parts of the North West.
Bad news stories deter specialists from taking up vacant posts.
Healthwatch Lancashire’s job is to be the independent champion of the interests of patients, so we want Chorley A and E to be re-opened as soon as possible.
We are talking with patients right now to ask them if the temporary arrangements are adequately meeting their needs. We will report what we uncover to the Board and Chief Executive without fear or favour.
But we will not join in any demonstration or climb aboard any bandwagon: we will simply report the facts.