Restore Emergency at Cheltenham General Hospital (REACH) will be giving a presentation this morning to the Gloucestershire County Council Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) that raises serious safety concerns about current arrangements for surgery in Gloucestershire and shares highlights of a recent survey.

The safety concerns are expressed in the context of a study that has shown that 20% of planned surgical patients, who get COVID-19, die within 30 days. The safety concerns are:

– Continuation of major planned surgery at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital against national advice, when a COVID-free site and Intensive Care Unit is available at Cheltenham General Hospital.

– Illogical transfer of arterial vascular surgery from Cheltenham General Hospital to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, when we have a state-of-the-art vascular unit at Cheltenham General Hospital.

– Potential mixing and therefore COVID contamination of planned and emergency surgical patients on Levels 2 & 5 in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital Tower Block.

– Removal of emergency theatre at Cheltenham General Hospital, necessitating transfer of planned Cheltenham General Hospital surgical patients with complications to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

The REACH representative will also be presenting the following highlights from a survey that it has conducted over the last three weeks:

– 97% of all respondents said that it was important to be made aware of COVID risks during surgery.

– Only 28% of patients (either had surgery during COVID or on a waiting list) have been informed about the risks of surgery during COVID.

– Only 29% of respondents said that Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had separated elective and emergency facilities satisfactorily.

– Only 28% of patients currently on waiting list would have elective surgery during COVID, if fully informed

– Only 17% of respondents would be prepared to have elective surgery at a hospital which has been designated as a receiving hospital for COVID patients, if fully informed.

Michael Ratcliffe, MBE, Chairman of REACH commented as follows:

“We fully recognise the need to restart planned surgery post COVID. It is vital however that this is conducted in a manner that is as safe as possible. We have some very grave concerns about the current arrangements and felt that HOSC given its oversight role should be made aware of these. We also felt strongly that in the absence of any public consultation being conducted by the Trust, the public should be given the opportunity to express their views about the current situation, which is why we conducted this survey and are today sharing the highlights”.

A full copy of the Presentation being given is provided here. REACH COVID HOSC Presentation July 2020 140720


1. The REACH Survey was conducted between 18th June and 13th July 2020 and had 513 responses. 96.88% of the survey responses stated that they were within the catchment area of Cheltenham General Hospital.