Crucial date in battle to save A&E
NEXT Monday, October 14, will be a crucial date in the campaign to save Cheltenham’s A&E.
It’s the deadline for members of the public to respond to the “engagement exercise” being run by local health bosses (One Gloucestershire) on the future of healthcare in Gloucestershire.
This “engagement” matters because One Gloucestershire state that the feedback will “inform future planning” for the firm proposals that will go out for statutory consultation in January 2020.
In other words, what the public says now will help decide whether Cheltenham keeps its A&E.
It’s already clear what the public think. Nearly 20,000 people have signed my petition to keep this vital facility open, and that number is rising every day. But despite this, One Gloucestershire have declined to take closure off the table. And my concern, based on correspondence leaked earlier this year, is that shutting A&E is in reality the settled plan.
I passionately believe there could be no justification for such a drastic move. Quite apart from the increased travel time, Gloucestershire Royal is already at capacity. And with more homes being built in the county every year, how could GRH conceivably absorb the extra 140 patients a day seen at Cheltenham?
Meanwhile, the NHS budget in England is rising from £122 billion a year in 2019 to £149 billion a year in 2023, and Gloucestershire’s hospitals budget went up by 7% in the last twelve months. This has never been about money.
So if you haven’t had the chance to fill out their survey, now really is the time to make your voice heard.
Please go to smartsurvey.co.uk/s/fitforthefuture/ to provide a personal response. Alternatively, if you agree with the answers to the engagement that I’ve drafted on my website – alexchalk.com – email me at [email protected]liament.uk to confirm (with your postcode if possible). I will ensure that your views are submitted. There’s no time to waste.