A&E will stay at hospital
HOSPITAL bosses have hit back at reports that the A&E department will be closed.
Reports in the national press have this week said the emergency department at Macclesfield Hospital is one of 24 at risk of being ‘downgraded’ to an urgent care centre – which would not take care of the most seriously ill patients.
This has caused concern among residents who thought the department was safe after health bosses issued a statement to say the A&E would remain.
But health chiefs say the reports are based on old information and they are still working with partners to develop options for the future of the A&E.
Concerns were initially raised in November last year when a leaked document – called the Cheshire and Merseyside Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) – said the A&E may be downgraded.
But representatives for the East Cheshire NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, insisted that the A&E department will remain.
A spokesman said the recent national news reports have been based on the earlier document, which confirmed that the A&E could be downgraded to an urgent care centre.
A Macclesfield Hospital A&E and Caring Together programme progress spokesman said: “Caring Together partners regret recent reports in the national media suggesting that Macclesfield Hospital’s A&E department will be closed or downgraded.
“The reports appear to reference the STP document from November 16, 2016, which did suggest the conversion of the department to an urgent care centre as a potential model for the local health economy. However, the STP document has since been superseded by this statement in which Caring Together partners give a clear commitment to retain A&E services at Macclesfield Hospital and this remains the case.
“We have contacted national media outlets which have incorrectly referenced potential closure of the department highlighting this statement, and have asked for the articles in question to be amended accordingly. We are still at the stage of working with partners to develop options for the local health and social care economy through the Caring Together and wider regional sustainability and transformation programmes.
“The timeline for finalising these options has not been confirmed so we are currently unable to provide further details.
“However, the options will be made public in due course and consultation will take place where appropriate.”
The community reacted with outrage when the leaked document stated that the emergency department could be downgraded. The Express launched a campaign against the proposal and more than 10,000 residents signed a petition. Health bosses backtracked and issued a statement to say that the department would remain.
However, a government response to the petition failed to rule out future changes. It stated the public will be consulted before any changes are made.
Macclesfield MP David Rutley said: “I have heard nothing from within the NHS to suggest that the previous statement issued does not stand.
“The A&E at Macclesfield Hospital has been safeguarded as promised.”
Macclesfield A&E department and, inset, the Express campaign