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Chorley Hospital’s £17.5m expansion and what it’ll bring

Written by on July 9, 2020

A new £17.5 million expansion at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital is set to be one step closer to becoming a reality.

In April, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust set out its plans to build a four-storey, state-of-the-art extension at Chorley Hospital.

The hope is for the building to house the trust’s day case and eye care unit, with three new theatres.

Two of these will be for ophthalmology – which deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of eye diseases – and a third for treatment that doesn’t need overnight admission.

Currently, the hospital trust’s ophthalmology services are spread across various areas of Royal Preston Hospital, including a current temporary facility.

LancsLive understands the expansion will be an addition to the current facilities at Preston, with an October 2021 opening on the cards.

Dr Geraldine Skailes, Medical Director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are really pleased to be able to provide this additional facility which will help us to improve patient experience.

“The unit will include a dedicated outpatient and diagnostic space as well as three additional theatres to provide extra capacity for patients requiring a variety of day case procedures.”

Parking spots are set to increase by more than 100, with a staff car park expanding from 64 to 174.

The new facility will be built on land currently partially occupied by a storage unit for sterilisation and decontamination.

Detailed plans for the development are now set to be rubber stamped by Chorley Borough Council’s planning committee.

It will meet next Tuesday (July 14) where planning officers have recommended the scheme is approved.

This is despite the council receiving two objections to the scheme, saying it will result in a loss of light due to the scale of the build with residents’ gardens and properties overlooked by it.

But planning officers note: “The proposal would deliver a modern healthcare facility within an established hospital complex, providing significant healthcare benefits and supporting the community.

“The proposal is considered to be acceptable in design terms and would not be detrimental to neighbouring residential amenity. Nature conservation interests would not be adversely affected. “

A number of conditions are expected in relation to highway matters, with Highways England previously asking for information on how it may impact congestion at junction eight of the M61 motorway.

Meanwhile, the hospital’s A&E department is set to reopen from September on the condition that Lancashire doesn’t experience a second spike on Covid-19 cases.

The reopening of Chorley A&E will also depend on if funding is available to ensure that the site can be ‘Covid-secure’.

The A&E department was closed in March, with trust bosses saying it was necessary to make sure Royal Preston Hospital had capacity to look after the most seriously-ill coronavirus patients.

LancsLive understands that the move to “work towards” a September reopening was agreed at a meeting of board members on Tuesday evening.

Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said he was pleased at the announcement of a time frame.

But he added: “I want to see this happen as soon as possible in September.

“It’s clear that after intense lobbying, the trust has now given a more firm commitment to reopening the A&E and I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in that work.

“The key now is ensuring this plan comes to fruition and I’ll certainly be maintaining my consistent approach to ensuring we have A&E services for the residents of Chorley.”