A&E fu­ture Lead­ers deny that plans drawn up to close unit

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Leigh BOOBYER [email protected]­plc.com

HEALTH lead­ers in Glouces­ter­shire have de­nied claims Cheltenham’s hospi­tal emer­gency unit will close, brand­ing them “in­ac­cu­rate” and “mis­lead­ing”.

Se­nior mem­bers from the lo­cal NHS trust said the claims are “po­ten­tially con­fus­ing for mem­bers of the public and hospi­tal staff ”.

Glouces­ter­shire Hos­pi­tals NHS Foun­da­tion Trust an­nounced ear­lier this week an en­gage­ment ex­er­cise on the fu­ture of emer­gency med­i­cal care in Cheltenham.

One idea to re­move Cheltenham Gen­eral Hospi­tal’s emer­gency unit to make way for spe­cial­ist planned care on the site is part of the dis­cus­sion the trust wants to have with the public.

The town’s MP Alex Chalk claimed on Face­book that Cheltenham’s A&E unit will be “down­graded”.

And Coun­cil­lor Max Wilkin­son (LD, Oakley) wrote a let­ter to the trust’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Deb­o­rah Lee ask­ing if Cheltenham Gen­eral would be turned into an ur­gent treat­ment cen­tre .

That would be ap­point­ment only and led by GPS.

Pro­fes­sor Mark Pi­etroni, a med­i­cal di­rec­tor at the trust, said “no plans have been drawn up to close the A&E.”

The trust has re­it­er­ated that no de­ci­sion has been made, and the public and staff will be con­sulted on any sig­nif­i­cant changes which fol­low from the en­gage­ment pro­gramme.

The Trust pre­vi­ously said it would hold an “open dis­cus­sion” with res­i­dents on any changes un­der the Fit for the Fu­ture plan, which would ex­am­ine the fu­ture of ur­gent and hospi­tal care across Glouces­ter­shire.

Ser­vices such as gen­eral surgery - the surgery of the gut - and im­age guided surgery are among ideas the trust wants to re­ceive the public’s views on.

The trust has called the idea of the sep­a­ra­tion of ser­vices in Cheltenham Gen­eral and Glouces­ter­shire Royal “cen­tres of ex­cel­lence”.

The Trust said it will set up a cit­i­zens’ jury, a public hear­ing a sur­vey and drop in events.

Pro­fes­sor Mark Pi­etroni, di­rec­tor of safety and med­i­cal di­rec­tor at Glouces­ter­shire Hos­pi­tals NHS Foun­da­tion Trust said: “We want to make it very clear that no plans have been drawn up to close A&E in Cheltenham and the cur­rent en­gage­ment is an op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to have their say on how best to de­liver out­stand­ing spe­cial­ist hospi­tal care in the fu­ture, in­clud­ing the na­ture of lo­cal A&E ser­vices.

“One idea for dis­cus­sion is to cre­ate a Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence for Emer­gency Care in Glouces­ter­shire treat­ing crit­i­cal life and limb threat­en­ing con­di­tions.

“We say very clearly in the Fit for the Fu­ture book­let that we see both Cheltenham Gen­eral and Glouces­ter­shire Royal hos­pi­tals con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide a range of same day, walk in, ur­gent care ser­vices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for lo­cal pa­tients.”

Tewkes­bury GP and mem­ber of NHS Glouces­ter­shire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group Gov­ern­ing Body, Dr Jeremy Welch said: “Through Fit for the Fu­ture we would like to see open, two way con­ver­sa­tions tak­ing place and hear ev­ery­one’s ideas.

“There will be a range of views on how the NHS can de­liver lead­ing edge care in the fu­ture and it’s im­por­tant that ev­ery­one’s views are heard.”

Cheltenham Gen­eral Hospi­tal

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