More hospital services could be returned to Burnley in the wake of a damning report which revealed East Lancashire had some of the highest death rates in the country.
Ward 23 at Burnley General Hospital, which had previously been mothballed, was re-opened by health bosses earlier this year and, following the report, plans to return more services could be in the pipeline.
Dr Alan Crowther, director of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust’s community division, told the Express much was being done to improve patient care following the Keogh Report.
But Dr Crowther said it was unlikely all the services which had been moved from Burnley would be returned and added he was unable to comment further on which medical facilities could come back to the town.
“I don’t think we will be able to replicate what’s at Blackburn in Burnley but we need to make sure patients in Burnley get the right balance of care across the patch.”
Dr Crowther said the Trust had already highlighted the problems which came to light in the Keogh Report and had been working to address them when the report was published.
“The Trust, as part of the Keogh Review, has drawn up an action plan for how we are caring for our patients.
“We know we have to deliver a good quality service to our patients. As part of that we are reviewing the way services are delivered.
“There is a possibility that there will be more services at Burnley.
Ward 23, which opened before the publication of the report, was brought back into use to help ease winter pressures at the Royal Blackburn Hospital but has remained open as a “step down” ward for mainly elderly patients whose condition is medically stable but who are not yet well enough to return home.
The re-opening of Ward 23, which has 24 beds, now means Phase V at the hospital is now working to full capacity.
Dr Crowther said: “A certain problem we have is when patients come in ill to the Royal Blackburn Hospital and are getting better but they are not quite well enough to go home we often find that they need some more support.
“Yes Ward 23 is relieving the pressure on the system but it’s also recognising that we need to give patients a different experience of care. Blackburn’s skill is dealing with acute medicine.”