The breast service at Southport Hospital closed to new patients as of 1 September 2014. For more information, please read the following statements:
Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust issued the following statement:
Mr Rob Gillies, Executive Medical Director, said: “It is with great regret that following discussions with our NHS commissioners the Trust has taken the difficult decision to close its breast care service to new patients from 1 September 2014.
“There is a national shortage of radiologists who specialise in this type of care and we have spent more than 12 months trying to recruit to a post caused by a staff member retiring. Arrangements to appoint temporary radiologists fell through in early August. As it is not possible to operate the service safely without two breast specialist radiologists in post, we have had no choice but to close the service to new patients.
“I can assure all existing patients due an investigation, treatment or follow-up that they will continue to be seen at Southport and Ormskirk hospitals with the support of visiting radiologists until the completion of their treatment. I will also be writing to reassure those patients that the quality and timeliness of their care will be unaffected by this decision.
“We are also working with our NHS commissioners and neighbouring NHS trusts so there is no delay for new patients in receiving investigation and treatment. We have established a help and advice line for any current patients who may have questions or concerns. It is staffed 9.30am to 4pm on weekdays. A call-back service operates at all other times. The number is 01704 704788.”
NHS West Lancashire CCG’s statement:
In a joint statement Mike Maguire, chief officer of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Fiona Clark, chief officer of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:
“As commissioners of local health services patient safety is our paramount concern and we would like to reassure the community of West Lancashire and Southport and Formby that these changes should not lead to any delays in local patients accessing the high quality breast services they need. Existing patients should be assured that they will continue to receive care at the hospital, whilst new patients will continue to be able choose from a selection of nearby hospitals for breast services. In the meantime, this remains an urgent priority and while working closely with our NHS partners and other key bodies, we are exploring other possibilities to deliver breast services more locally in the future. We will also continue to engage with our local population around this and importantly use their views to develop our plans.”
The hospital has set up a new helpline for patients: 01704 704788
If anyone would like to get in touch with either of the CCGs about the breast service, please contact:
NHS West Lancashire CCG – 01695 588000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NHS Southport and Formby CCG – 0800 218 2333 SouthportandformbyCCG@nhs.net