Trust: A&E closures are not permanent
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