Care proposal ‘Keep our A&E open’ urges grateful ex-patient
APATIENT whose life was saved by the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at Cheltenham General Hospital is desperate for it to stay open.
The idea to remove the hospital’s emergency unit to make way for specialist planned care on the site is part of a discussion Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust wants to have with the public.
As part of this, an engagement exercise on the future of emergency medical care in Cheltenham is underway.
The trust insists that a decision has not been made but the possibility that people from the Cheltenham area may have to go to another town or city’s A&E department has alarmed many people. Alex Chalk, Cheltenham’s MP, has been particularly critical of the way the trust has handled the matter.
Heart patient Stewart Evans said: “I agree entirely with Alex Chalk’s argument for keeping Cheltenham’s A&E department open due to the circumstances I found myself in on August 6.
“I began experiencing what I thought was a very bad case of indigestion but due to the severity of the pain soon realised it was more than that.
“From arrival at Cheltenham’s A&E department to being told it was a heart attack, being taken straight to theatre, having a stent fitted and arriving in the cardio recovery ward, took less than an hour.”
The 61-year-old, who lives in Highnam, added that he was grateful to a large number of staff who he is convinced saved his life through their
speedy and attentive care.
He said: “From ‘Glasgow’ Mark, the doctor diagnosing the heart attack, to being taken to theatre by Stuart and Doctor Chamberlain-webber who put the stent in, to all the staff in the cardio ward including Carrie, Kate, Jenny, Julie, Zoe, Sophie and Meghan, I can not thank you enough for all for the care and reassurance you gave me.
“You are the reason the NHS is such a fantastic institution.
“Mark and Stuart did not have to turn up in the afternoon to check on me but they did. Ladies and gentlemen of the NHS, I thank you all.
“If A&E had not been there and I had to be taken to Bristol, I might not be submitting this account.”
Mr Evans said he had attended a follow-up appointment at Cheltenham and again the staff were “just brilliant”.
“I can not praise everyone concerned enough for all the care and advice,” he said.
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 its engagement programme.
It previously said it would hold an “open discussion” with residents on any changes under its Fit for the Future plan, which would examine urgent and hospital care across Gloucestershire.
Services such as general surgery, gut surgery and image guided surgery are among ideas the trust wants to receive the public’s views on.
The period of engagement will continue through the autumn.
Stewart Evans in Cheltenham General Hospital after having a stent fitted