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“Chorley accident and emergency closes,” this was the headline for most of the local dailies when the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recommended that Chorley Hospital’s accident and emergency department be closed. This was occasioned by shortage of emergency doctors, which was putting the lives and well-being of patients in critical conditions at risk as most of them could not get immediate attention.

The hospital has finally re-opened its accident and emergency unit after nine months of inactivity. The department was closed on Monday 18th April last year and it was replaced with the urgent care center, which could only provide treatment for minor injuries and illnesses. News about its closure was however not well received by everyone and some locals formed a concerted campaign to oppose the move. Since then, on every Saturday morning dozens and in some instances hundreds of protestors could be seen outside the hospital, demanding for the 24-hour service to be re-instated at the department.

However, the management clarified that this was just a short-term measure which was caused by a shortage of professional staff that were required to attend to patients in serious emergency situations. The reopening of the department on 18th January this year came as great news for most of Chorley residents who have had to seek other alternatives in emergency situations. For instance, most of them opted for, or could be directed to Royal Preston Hospital, which is the nearest option that has a well-equipped accident and emergency unit operating 24 hours seven days a week.

However, it is important to note the accident and emergency unit at Chorley Hospital has just been partially reopened as it will be operating from 8am to 8pm and it will be running alongside the 24-hour urgent care center. With the trust’s commitment to secure additional stuff, residents could see the unit becoming fully operational 24/7 again.