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I have written previously about my concern over the closure of Chorley A&E and the impact that this could have on surrounding hospitals.

Sadly this situation has not been resolved. Despite huge opposition locally and pressure in Parliament for the Government to intervene, hospital bosses are looking at April 2017 as the earliest possible re-opening date.

I have serious concerns that there are major underlying problems in our NHS that the Government is refusing to address. While NHS bosses in Chorley must take some responsibility for the closure, you only need to search for ‘A&E staff shortage‘ on google news to find stories from all across the country of A&E services under severe strain.

Our own Royal Bolton Hospital rightly celebrated their recent award of a “good” rating from the Care Quality Commission which put them in the top 25% of hospitals. However, even that report highlighted that our A&E is facing high demand and they do not have appropriate staffing levels to meet that challenge.

Widespread problems in Accident and Emergency acts as a red flag warning to us all that there are serious issues elsewhere in the NHS. Problems across the whole of our health care system, including primary care, social care and mental health, all end up piling the pressure back onto hospitals and A&E in particular.

Doctors are doing their best to meet targets but they are being asked to do more and more, with longer and more anti-social shifts in this high pressure environment. Rather than being supported by the Government they are faced with Jeremy Hunt’s fight to curb their pay and conditions. Is it really surprising that recruitment is becoming difficult?

I shall continue to lobby the Secretary of State for Health about the issues in our NHS and will be working with other local MPs to press for a swift resolution to the ongoing closure of Chorley A&E.

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