Councillor John Payne (PAB) accepts that changes to any services and particularly changes to public services are inevitable. But he also expects changes to any public service to be for the betterment of the service, not to downgrade it.
The recent ‘secret’ plans by the local NHS Hospital Trust managers to downgrade the A&E at Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH) smacks of the worst kind of bureaucracy.
The fact that the ultimate future of the CGH A&E Department has been the subject of
discussion for the past four years doesn’t make the general public feel any easier, and especially when the overnight service at the A&E was ended some time ago.
Furthermore, Cllr Payne understands that the suggestions being put forward could result in the A&E being replaced with an Urgent Care Centre, which allegedly, will be GP and Nurse Leadbut clearly will be a poor replacement for what was once an efficient 24 hour A&E service.
Currently, the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital Emergency Department is not big enough, resulting in patients having to wait on trolleys and in corridors.
John’s view is quite simple, restore the service – no ifs or buts; with the rising numbers in the populations of both Cheltenham and Gloucester it is obvious that the pressure on the staff of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital will be unacceptable.
The facts speak for themselves:
The Cheltenham General Hospital was built in 1848/49; it served the population well in its early years and since it joined the NHS in 1948.
Throughout those years, the A&E department has played a vital role in providing a medical treatment facility for those who present themselves without prior appointment, either by their own means or by that of the ambulance service.
For Cheltenham’s current 118,000 residents, that has always been a comforting thought – the A&E has been and is always there whenever it is needed.
Gloucester City currently has a population of 130,000, so it is easy to see that combined with Cheltenham, plus the additional numbers of people from the numerous surrounding villages and hamlets, that we are expecting the Gloucestershire Royal Hospitalstaff to handle the emergency medical care of nearly a quarter of a million residents.
The PAB Group welcomes the work and tireless efforts of Alex Chalk the Cheltenham MP who has (apparently) been excluded from previous discussions concerning the possible downgrading of the Cheltenham A&E service.
This is deplorable.
Whatever ‘half-baked’ scheme the NHS Hospital Trust comes up with in the weeks ahead, it should be debated in a public forum, as well as with independent groups like PAB, who will always put the general public first, rather than a bureaucratic ‘trust’ who, so far, appears to ignore us.
Cllr John Payne.