Local NHS reiterates commitment to Cheltenham A&E 

Heath leaders have reiterated that there are no proposals to close Cheltenham A&E and the Hospital Trust’s Chief Executive has said that ‘constructive’ discussions were held with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on this issue.

Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Deborah Lee said:

“I refute wholeheartedly any claim that I misled the Secretary of State. I welcome yesterday’s statement which confirms that there will be no proposals to close Cheltenham A&E included in the forthcoming consultation.

We do, as part of our on-going Fit for the Future conversations, need to consider together how best to develop outstanding hospital care in the future, use our precious resources such as specialist staff, equipment and facilities to best effect and ensure we can maximise people’s chances of survival and recovery day and night.

One idea is to develop a centre of excellence approach which reflects the way a number of services are already delivered – such as stroke care, oncology and trauma.

There was considerable support at today’s Engagement Hearing for the vision of centres of excellence and a view that it is worthy of serious consideration. However, we are clear that the potential solutions developed should not jeopardise the future of Cheltenham’s A&E.”

Nothing that has happened in the last 24 hours changes our collective approach to listening to people’s views and ideas, developing solutions together and there is a real commitment to future consultation as required.

Commenting on today’s Engagement Hearing, NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group Accountable Officer, Mary Hutton said:

“The Hearing was another valuable opportunity to listen to people’s ideas and views about community urgent care and specialist hospital services as together we consider how to deliver the very best care in the future.

People do understand that the idea of developing a Centres of Excellence approach is something that needs to be looked at and there is recognition that it has delivered significant benefits to healthcare and outcomes in other parts of the country.

We would like to thank all participants today who took the time to share their views. We remain committed to adopting innovative ways of involving people in developing solutions. Members of the public and staff would be consulted on any significant changes proposed that follow on from the engagement programme.”

Engagement Panel member and local GP, Dr Jeremy Welch said:

“We are very grateful to people who have taken the time to talk with us today. We have heard a wealth of insights and perspectives, which, when combined with other feedback we have received during the engagement, can shape our thinking as we go forward now to develop solutions.”

Independent Chair of the Engagement Hearing, Nick Duffin from the Consultation Institute said:

“It was a very constructive event with some clear themes for further discussion. People’s different ideas will be put forward to help in formulating potential solutions fit for the future.”