Our hospitals and those who work in them have been at the heart of the Coronavirus fight. They have done a great job. We thank them and all NHS and Care Staff for their work and commitment. They are why the future of our Hospitals is so important to all of us.
Recently, Cheltenham councillors met the Hospitals' Trust to talk about reorganisation proposals currently being discussed. These proposals are of great concern, not least because of the timing of them and implications for services.
We are in the midst of a pandemic. Our medical services are at the edge of being able to cope. Is this really the time to be concentrating on shifting departments, facilities and staff around?
The Hospitals’ Trust want to make significant changes to our hospitals, with inpatient services being switched mostly from Cheltenham General to Gloucestershire Royal. A major focus will make Gloucestershire Royal THE emergency hospital for emergency admissions for medicine, surgery and trauma orthopaedics. The Trust says it is to create 'centres of excellence’. Yet Cheltenham Hospital already has a ‘centre of excellence’ for cancer care, urology, vascular surgery and opthalmology.
It is obvious to anyone who has been to the hospitals recently, that while Cheltenham Hospital has underused space and a half empty intensive care unit. Gloucestershire Royal is struggling to cope with the number of patients arriving at A&E and planned admissions for major surgery.
Is there an alternative? Yes, there is.
More major planned or so called “elective” surgery could be performed in Cheltenham General. If there has to be a reorganisation, the Trust should consider relocating ALL cancer surgery cases to Cheltenham, so that patients can receive the best care from surgeons and oncologists in the same building. Making Cheltenham a major Cancer Hospital like the Royal Marsden or Christie Hospitals would create a true Centre of Excellence.
Cheltenham Council will submit a formal response to the Trust, looking at what is best for Cheltenham residents and those in the North and East of the County, served by Cheltenham General Hospital. If you’re concerned, let us know.
- Councillor Flo Clucas, Cabinet Member Healthy Lifestyles