Campaigners slam delay over Burnley A&E decision
5:10pm Saturday 14th July 2012 in News
HEALTH campaigners are furious that almost two years after a Westminster review was launched into returning the Accident and Emergency title to Burnley’s Urgent Care Centre a decision has still not been made.
Burnley General Hospital’s A&E department was closed in November 2007, with services moved to Blackburn, and a UCC was set up in its place to deal with less serious cases.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has been looking at the naming of such departments as part of a national nomenclature review, but since June last year, camapigners said progress had “disappeared into a black hole.”
Mr Woolley said: “The lack of urgency in sorting out the nomenclature review is astonishing. I’m amazed that the Department of Health can be so complacent.
“There has been one year of doing nothing, and once again, the people of Burnley have been fobbed off.”
A review by Professor Matthew Cooke and Dr Irving Cobden into East Lancashire Hospitals revealed that the UCC was performing many duties that are associated with an accident and emergency department.
Mr Woolley added: “The UCC has been degraded and then upgraded, and now there’s quite a few blue light services that go to Burnley. It doesn’t have everything there, but neither does Blackburn, and the paramedics know which one to go to.
“To pretend that there will be confusion over where to go and patients will suffer as a result is nonsense.
“It was a big mistake to strip the name from Burnley in the first place, and as far as I can see, there is no good reason why it shouldn’t be returned.”
A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We are continually looking at ways to reduce any confusion for the public in accessing urgent and emergency care services. National work on this issue is currently being undertaken.
“We have tested some ideas with the NHS and are considering next steps. No guidance has been issued on this.
"Patients in Burnley who are unsure about the best services to use for their urgent health needs should contact the NHS 111 service for advice."