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Healthwatch Lancashire boss isn't apologising for controversial comments


6:00am 1st June 2016

Healthwatch Lancashire boss isn't apologising for comments that sparked outrage from Chorley A&E campaigners.

Those battling to get the emergency service back open were furious when they heard Mike Wedgeworth imply they were putting doctors off from applying to the Trust.

We've been speaking to the Chair of Healthwatch Lancashire about the comments made on BBC News on Saturday (21st May).

"As is always the case with TV interviews they recorded about 15 minutes and broadcast about 10 seconds.

"the part they broadcast was one where I was trying to talk with a MP about which target was right for the protestors to aim at.

"They were aiming at the Trust and I thought they should really be aiming nationally because the problem with Trust is a national shortage of skilled doctors in A&E."

When pressed on why repeated these comments on a live radio interview Mr Wedgeworth said:

"Well let me first say on the day of the demonstration I attended, I spoke to a lot of people and I thought I had quite a good conversation with them.

"I was impressed by the turnout, I expressed my views on the whole situation but that was a conversation and certainly not a confrontation.

"I said if there's going to be constant criticism of the Trust then that could have a bad effect because that would put the Trust in a bad light and it might deter people from apply to work there.

"That's the very thing we want them to do of course to fill up A&E but that was only part of the conversation and wasn't the whole of it by any means.

We then asked the Chair if he thought he was going to say sorry for his comments or the offense he's caused by making them:

"I've spoken to the campaigners and offered to go and speak with them.

"Very interestingly I noticed that some local councillors are doing what I think should be done and are writing to the PM to advocate more investment in A&E services.

"But if I might with people again - I will explain my position to them and see how we get on."

It was then we put forward the calls for his resignation to Mr Wedgeworth over the comments he made and whether he would consider them.

"I've requested a meeting to discuss the question - I don't feel inclined to resign but if they put to me good reasons to me why I should then I will consider it.

"But I think discussion, conversations and meeting are the way forward - not asking people to resign as I don't think that's particularly productive.

"I want to make it clear I want to meet people to discuss their requests that I should resign." 

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