Chorley Hospital A&E unit to remain closed over doctor shortage
A hospital A&E department closed temporarily over "unacceptable" safety risks is to remain closed because of doctor shortages.
Chorley Hospital in Lancashire was downgraded to an urgent care centre in April but was due to reopen in August.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said there had been a "small improvement" in doctor numbers, but staffing levels were still too low.
Campaigners fear the unit "could be closed permanently".
The trust has not given a new date for the department to open, but said it was "monitoring the progress to recruit more doctors on a week-by-week basis".
Professor Mark Pugh, the Trust's Medical Director, said: "It would be negligent and an unacceptable risk to patients for us to re-open a service that would not be safe due to doctor shortages. "
The closure in April prompted hundreds of people to protest.
Steve Turner of the Campaign group Protect Chorley Hospital From Cuts and Privatisation said: "We've got inside information from a reliable source that the unit will not reopen until January.
"We fear that there is a hidden agenda and it will actually be closed forever."