Leighton Hospital A&E patients

Leighton Hospital bosses have been unsuccessful in a bid for £1.4 million to help A&E run smoothly this winter, writes Stephen Topping.

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust wanted to tap into a £145 million pot of money announced by the Government in September to support A&E departments over the winter months.

Leighton bosses wanted to use the cash to provide eight additional A&E cubicles – but the trust could not meet all the criteria set by regulators NHS Improvement to receive the money.

Plans are still in place to make sure Leighton can meet this winter’s demands – but now a doctor has launched a petition calling on NHS Improvement to reconsider the bid.

A spokesman at the trust said: “The trust bid for £1.4 million to fund additional temporary cubicles connected to Leighton Hospital’s A&E, which would have increased the department’s capacity over winter by eight spaces.

“The funding was subsequently withdrawn as the trust was unable to meet three of the nine criteria, which included completing the project by December 2018.

“Despite this, the trust has robust plans in place to manage the increased demand on services that we experience every winter.

“These help to ensure that services continue to run as smoothly as possible while ensuring that patients’ needs continue to be met.”

NHS bodies have been working on their winter plans for several months – and Leighton bosses outlined their plans to Cheshire East Council at a meeting in July.

Now, Dr Kieran Mullan has launched a petition calling on NHS Improvement to go back into discussions with Mid Cheshire Hospitals to secure the £1.4 million.

The Conservative parliamentary candidate for Crewe and Nantwich insists the matter is not party political, but says that ‘patients would expect nothing less’ than for NHS bodies to work together and find an agreement over the cash.

Dr Mullan said: “The Government made this money available for good reason because it knows services are under pressure.

“Leighton is under pressure and the hospital managers were clear they could make use of the additional money. NHS Improvement needs to urgently go back into discussion with the hospital managers.

“Extra capital funding might sound technical but it can mean at busy times patients aren’t waiting in corridors on trolleys, that there are rooms for doctors and nurse to see patients – it can make a real difference.”

Mid Cheshire Hospitals’ spokesman added: “Mid Cheshire Hospitals has been made aware of the petition and is grateful for the public’s support.”

To sign the petition visit tinyurl.com/leightonae

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