Plan for single A&E department for central Lancashire

Image caption,
The A&E unit at Chorley Hospital has been operating for 12 hours a day since 2017

Central Lancashire could be served by a single accident and emergency unit under NHS plans to reorganise services.

The draft plans do not specify where the unit would be or mention the existing Preston or Chorley's units.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust medical director Dr Geraldine Skailes said the public would get a say on the "configuration" of services.

Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle said any change would not negate the need for local A&Es.

The document also suggests a separate ring-fenced facility for pre-planned procedures to reduce the risk of operations being cancelled when there is an influx of emergency cases, Dr Skailes told Local Democracy Reporter Paul Faulkner.

Two urgent care centres to see patients with minor injuries and illnesses would also be kept under the proposals.

The plan for a new "model of care" is the culmination of a two-year project to reorganise NHS services across Preston, Chorley and South Ribble under the banner of "Our Health, Our Care".

Dr Skailes said the model was almost finalised, but a number of options would be presented to the public for consideration in January.

Image caption,
The temporary closure of Chorley's A&E in 2016 prompted protests

Drawing reference to the problems faced in Preston when Chorley's A&E was closed, Sir Lindsay said the plans were "totally unacceptable" and "driven to save money at the expense of the people whose health they're meant to look after".

"If they're saying this is the only option, why are they consulting? That's a complete failure", he added.

Chorley Hospital's A&E department was shut and downgraded to an urgent care service in April 2016, prompting protests.

The publication of the draft proposals prompted campaigners to call an "urgent" public meeting to demand the reinstatement of a 24-hour A&E department at the hospital.

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