Trust: A&E clo­sures are not per­ma­nent

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page -

THE trust re­spon­si­ble for run­ning Orm­skirk Hos­pi­tal has de­nied claims that overnight clo­sures of the chil­dren’s A&E depart­ment have been made per­ma­nent.

Un­der plans brought in to tackle the Covid-19 pan­demic, the emer­gency depart­ment is cur­rently closed be­tween 10pm-8am each day and chil­dren are in­stead di­verted to Alder Hey Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Liver­pool.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper last week claimed that the tem­po­rary change was now be­ing made per­ma­nent and was left fu­ri­ous af­ter learn­ing the news through a con­cerned mem­ber of staff rather than through of­fi­cial chan­nels.

But South­port and Orm­skirk Hos­pi­tals NHS Trust moved quickly to deny the claims and in­sists that bosses have no in­ten­tion of mak­ing such a de­ci­sion.

The tem­po­rary open­ing hours were brought in dur­ing April in or­der to en­sure enough re­sources were avail­able to deal with the pan­demic. Sim­i­larly, ser­vices such as phys­io­ther­apy were moved from South­port to Orm­skirk to free up bed space.

How­ever, the ex­tra travel caused con­cern among par­ents across the trust’s re­gion, which in­cludes South­port, Formby and West Lancashire, par­tic­u­larly for those still up­set over the clo­sure of the Chil­dren’s A&E at South­port and res­i­dents across Skelmers­dale who have to bat­tle poor pub­lic trans­port links.

Warn­ing of the ap­par­ent per­ma­nent clo­sure, Labour MP Ms Cooper said: “I am shocked at the in­for­ma­tion that chil­dren’s A&E at Orm­skirk

Hos­pi­tal which is cur­rently closed overnight due to Covid, will now per­ma­nently close from 10pm each evening.

“I am dis­mayed that I had to re­ceive this in­for­ma­tion from an up­set mem­ber of staff and not from the trust who did not do me the courtesy of in­form­ing me of the de­ci­sion.

“Lo­cal par­ents will be very con­cerned at this news and I am cur­rently mak­ing con­tact with the trust to un­der­stand this de­ci­sion and whether there is any op­por­tu­nity to halt or de­lay it.”

How­ever, Tr­ish Arm­strong-Child, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the hos­pi­tal trust, cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied that the clo­sure is per­ma­nent and said dis­cus­sions have taken place to extend open­ing hours.

She said: “This dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion was taken be­cause the trust could not main­tain safe and con­sis­tent emer­gency med­i­cal cover overnight while the fo­cus of our staff was on Covid-19.

“It was and re­mains a tem­po­rary clo­sure taken on the ad­vice of the trust’s se­nior doc­tors.

“Al­though the num­ber of Covid cases has fallen, the ef­fects of the virus con­tinue to dis­rupt the work of our hos­pi­tals. We also need to be able to re­spond quickly to any in­crease in Covid cases.

“I have as­sured Rosie Cooper MP that the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided to her of­fice is in­cor­rect.

“The trust keeps the tem­po­rary clo­sure of the depart­ment un­der con­stant re­view with the sup­port of NHS part­ners. An op­tion we are cur­rently ex­plor­ing is to po­ten­tially extend the open­ing hours.”

Orm­skirk Hos­pi­tal. Above right: Rosie Cooper MP. Be­low right: Tr­ish Arm­strong-Child

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