Trust forced to downgrade A&E after locum doctor crisis

A teaching hospital has been forced to downgrade one of its two accident and emergency departments after a crisis in locum doctor recruitment. The problem has been blamed on difficulties caused by introduction of a cap on locum rates, HSJ has learned.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust is preparing to close Chorley A&E overnight from Monday, but it will run as an urgent care centre between 8am and 8pm.

Trust chief executive Karen Partington told HSJ it had only half the middle grade doctors needed to staff its two A&E departments in Preston and Chorley, after locum doctors resigned from the trust to work at other North West hospitals who were paying over the cap for temporary staff.

The problem has been further exacerbated in recent weeks after two doctors went on long-term sick leave. She said a recruitment drive by the trust had resulted in no applications from middle grade doctors and one unsuitable consultant applicant.

Full story in the Health Services Journal 14 April 2016