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.”
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