NHS chiefs deny closure of children’s A&E is permanent

NHS chiefs have denied claims that overnight closures of the Children’s A&E department in Ormskirk have been made permanent.

The emergency department has been closed, temporarily, between 10pm-8am each day since April, under plans brought in to help manage the coronavirus pandemic.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper today stated the temporary change had been made permanent, but hospital bosses say she is incorrect, and that no such decision has been made.

Trish Armstrong-Child, chief executive of Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust 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.

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“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.

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“I have assured Rosie Cooper 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.”

The facility in Ormskirk is the nearest children’s A&E for many people living in North Sefton, since the Southport site closed in 2003.

The transfer followed an independent review commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health in 1999 to solve problems with overstretched resources

Professor Sir Robert Shields recommended all paediatric and maternity services for West Lancashire, Southport and Formby should be merged on one site.

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