On the day that Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust began the phased re-opening of Cheltenham A&E, REACH has welcomed the move. It has also reassured the public that it will be monitoring both this service carefully and the wider services at Cheltenham General Hospital.
Chairman of REACH Michael Ratcliffe MBE, commented:
“Whilst in the midst of some of the most extreme circumstances of the pandemic we recognised the rationale for temporary closure of Cheltenham A&E, it was nonetheless a very sad day. You only have to look at some of the difficulties highlighted by ITV West this week, to see the problems and suffering this decision has contributed to. We warmly welcome the partial re-opening today of a Consultant led unit at Cheltenham A&E between the hours of 8am and 8pm and the return to pre-pandemic service levels on 30th June”.
“On behalf of REACH I want to re-assure the public that we will be watching the situation closely and not letting down our guard. We have noted with great interest that the Trust’s Medical Director has acknowledged in a statement about the re-opening, that the very existence of Cheltenham A&E means that patients can often be seen in a more timely manner in peak periods of demand. Our long-term aspiration remains that we would like to see a full 24 hour service. We will also continue to campaign for the restoration of other services that have been removed from Cheltenham”.
1. Statement by Medical Director, Professor Mark Pietroni included in press release issued by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: “Whilst Cheltenham has traditionally served the east of the county, it is a service available to anyone in Gloucestershire, has a superb team of staff and can often see patients in a more timely way than is possible at Gloucestershire Royal during times of peak demand”.