Doctors raise concerns about A&E problems

Wigan A&E department
Wigan A&E department

Serious staffing problems at two A&E departments - and the impact it is having in Wigan - have been highlighted by leading emergency doctors.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) commented on the closure of Chorley’s A&E unit and concerns about doctors at North Middlesex Hospital’s A&E.

Dr Clifford Mann, RCEM president, said: “The default solution of closure and merger of A&Es is destabilising those that remain. In the case of Chorley it is Wigan hospital that has been most affected. In London, if the North Middlesex were to close the implications for surrounding trusts would be overwhelming.

“Fully funding emergency care is the only way to ensure frontline resources are available to all patients with acute health care needs. The current funding model is neither efficient nor effective. Current staffing is neither adequate nor sustainable. Current expectations of A&E departments are undeliverable.”

People have been asked not to go to Wigan’s A&E unless they are seriously ill due to “unprecedented demand”.

One reason given was the closure of Chorley’s A&E amid staffing problems.

Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust’s spokesman said: “The increase in attendance is around 20 patients per day and is caused by a number of factors,only one of which is the temporary changes to Chorley Hospital. We are seeing around five additional patients from the Chorley area a day, which is only a quarter of the increased number of people attending our department.”

Karen Partington, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Chorley A&E, said: “North West Ambulance Service and surrounding hospitals have not reported any significant increase in patients to date and are continuing to monitor the impact on a daily basis.”