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Chorley and South Ribble CCG and Greater Preston CCG response to Chorley A&E announcement

22nd September 2020

Commenting on the announcement about Chorley A&E made by the Trust Board, the Chief Accountable Officer, Denis Gizzi said:

 

“We support the difficult decision taken to delay the reopening of the A&E department to Chorley and South Ribble hospital whilst appreciating the concern and disappointment that some local residents and elected members will have about this. This is however a necessary but unfortunate decision that the Trust board has had to make.

“As commissioners, our primary and overriding duty is to ensure the delivery of safe and high-quality care to the people we serve at all times.  Our support for the Trust’s position stems from the simple fact that there is insufficient staffing available at this time to safely provide two A&E services in central Lancashire, taking in to account the continuing impact of Covid-19.  This position is extensively supported by independent and objective clinical evidence and reflects the situation in many other areas of the country.

“However, we still expect the Trust to maintain its focus on restoring services to Chorley and South Ribble hospital as soon as possible.  At the same time, they will be supporting us to deliver an effective response to the exponential growth of Covid-19 cases being experienced in our area as winter rapidly approaches.”

 

Denis Gizzi also commented on the impact of today’s decision for the planned public consultation as part of the Our Health Our Care programme.  He said:

“Our position relating to the longer-term position for acute hospital services remains unchanged.  An open-minded, fair, and transparent public consultation would allow us to describe a positive vision for improved hospital services in central Lancashire, based upon improving clinical outcomes and patient experience. 

“We continue to work in partnership with NHS England to support them to conclude their review of our plans for public consultation at the earliest possible stage. In light of local covid-19 restrictions our plans for consultation include a number of alternative approaches we would take in order to allow as many people as possible to share their views. We will update the public further about these matters in the coming weeks.”

 

 

Background/Detail

In late March, the unprecedented public health emergency caused by Covid-19 necessitated rapid re-organisation of health and care services across the country as an essential measure to save lives. 

As determined by Parliament, Trust Boards and commissioners have powers to make changes to health and care services outside of normal consultation processes in circumstances where there are immediate concerns relating to delivery of safe and high-quality services. 

As the local health economy progressed into the next phase of the pandemic response, we supported the stance taken by the Trust to work tirelessly to deliver the conditions by which emergency care and other services could be safely restored. 

The timeline set of restoring services - by the end of September - was developed around a detailed and realistic operational plan.  In turn, this time-bound plan reflected the impact of Covid-19; the necessary time to recruit additional clinical staff; and the delivery of essential building works to create Covid-secure care delivery environments.

Since this time, we have worked closely with the Trust to ensure that its plans have been focussed on as a key organisational priority at each stage, mirroring the stance taken by NHS England as the regulator. 

We have also ensured that the clinical safety, risk, and assurance positions taken by the Trust have been substantiated with reference to detailed and independent clinical evidence before offering our support to the conclusions made by the Trust Board. We are satisfied that the Trust Board is putting patient safety first and is acting in accordance with the independent clinical advice which it has received.

We feel that this additional assurance was a necessary step to reflect the level of public concern about the emergency changes and their proposed extension beyond the end of September. 

We continue to welcome the support from all of our local Members of Parliament, particularly with regards to championing the case for new and experienced health and care professionals to join the NHS workforce in Chorley, South Ribble and Preston.  We also recognise that they have supported us to achieve significant inward investment to deliver safer health and care delivery environments, which is welcomed. 

We look forward to working together with all of our local Members of Parliament, staff, and members of the public as we take forward our exciting plans to deliver better outcomes and patient experience for people in central Lancashire. 

You can read more about our plans here –

https://www.healthierlsc.co.uk/central-lancs/OHOC

Supporting information and FAQs can also be found on the same website.