Chorley Hospital A&E unit expected to reopen in August

Chorley Hospital
Image caption The downgraded urgent care centre at Chorley has been seeing more than 100 patients a day

A hospital A&E department closed temporarily over "unacceptable" safety risks is expected to reopen in August.

Chorley Hospital in Lancashire was downgraded to an urgent care centre in April due to a doctor shortage after a pay cap on agency staff was imposed.

Nine of the 14 needed have been secured and recruitment is under way for six others for an end of August opening.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) said it "hoped to reinstate" the unit but there were "no guarantees".

Image caption In April, Chorley Hospital had eight of the 14 doctors it needed

The trust is looking to appoint two overseas doctors and applications have been received for four permanent staff.

But securing new trainee doctors it expects in August and appointing one permanent doctor would provide enough staff to reinstate the department while recruitment processes are ongoing.

The service requires 10 permanent staff, while the remaining four can be temporary.

'Right number'

Professor Mark Pugh, medical director of LTHT, said: "If we achieve that staffing position we hope to be able to reinstate the department from the end of August.

"If we do not have the right number we won't be able to reinstate the department in August."

On Wednesday, Wigan hospital in Greater Manchester partially blamed an "unprecedented" demand on its A&E department on the closure.

It said it had seen a four-fold increase in people with a Chorley postcode attending its unit.

LTHT said other hospitals in the surrounding area reported they had seen the "small increase that was forecast".

The downgraded urgent care centre at Chorley has been seeing more than 100 patients a day, with "very few" needing transferring to the casualty department in Preston, the trust added.

More than 18,000 people have signed a petition to keep the A&E open.

Image caption Campaigners have staged protests outside the hospital

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