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The new chief executive at Leighton Hospital believes there must be a cash boost for its A&E – or it will stop being fit for purpose.

James Sumner, who began in the role at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust last Monday, addressed his first board of directors meeting a week later.

It came just days after Mr Sumner welcomed Bill McCarthy, north west regional director for regulators NHS Improvement, to Leighton’s A&E last Friday.

And the new chief executive left his guest in no doubt over his feelings about the need to spend money on the department to meet growing demand.

Mr Sumner told the board: “Our A&E isn’t big enough, we’ve got queues of people, we are vastly increasing our population – this A&E is not going to be fit for purpose in the next few years.

“He really took on board that we need to spend some money on that A&E department if we are going to make patient flow work and so we can have an environment that is attractive for staff.

“He didn’t write a cheque there and then – but interestingly he did signal to me that the landscape on funding could well change.”

The warning comes after Mid Cheshire Hospitals published its latest A&E performance figures ahead of Monday’s meeting.

Patients were left waiting to be seen for more than four hours at Leighton’s A&E on 1,560 occasions in June – an improvement against the 1,821 ‘four-hour breaches’ in May.

Leighton has failed to hit the national target of 95% of patients being seen within four hours at A&E in every month since August 2017 – scoring 80.63% in June.

However, attendances at Leighton’s A&E have increased dramatically in that time – from 7,011 in August 2017 to 8,053 in June 2019.

Meanwhile, Cheshire’s population is expected to rise by 2030 – with at least 36,000 new homes set for Cheshire East and 22,000 in Cheshire West.

Mr Sumner added that Mr McCarthy was left “very impressed” by Leighton’s A&E staff and the team in other hospital departments that he visited.

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