Following the unveiling by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust of their “Fit for the Future” publication and engagement exercise, REACH (Restoring Emergency and Accident at Cheltenham General Hospital) responded by calling upon the Trust to be more honest and transparent about their plans. REACH’s team of medical experts have now gone one step further and created “Fit for the Future Explained” a document that REACH believes portrays the true intent and meaning of the NHS Trust publication.

Chris Hickey, spokesperson for REACH commented:

“Right from the outset we have been gravely concerned at the potential for the “Fit for the Future” publication to mislead the public. This is why our team of experts have produced “Fit for the Future Explained”. We have gone through their document in detail and outlined what we consider to be the real meaning that underlies their highly crafted and carefully chosen words.

“Over recent days and weeks the NHS Trust has been going to great lengths to stress that no decision has been made to shut A&E at Cheltenham, whereas it is crystal clear to us that they intend to shut the existing facility and replace it with an Urgent Care Centre. This Centre would be manned by GPs as opposed to specialist emergency doctors and nurses. Such a facility would be more alike your local doctors’ practice where you will need an appointment, than it would an A&E Department.

“Under such an arrangement the general public would be expected to be able to determine for themselves whether they require urgent care or whether their problem is an emergency. Quite how they are expected to be able to do this, we do not know”.

“We hope that the general public will find this document useful and that it will enable them to participate in the current engagement process in a more informed manner”.

Anyone wanting to read “Fit for the Future Explained” can read it here.

Chis Hickey, outlined what steps REACH now intends to take:

“Having now published “Fit for the Future Explained” we shall this week launch a clear quantifiable version of the NHS Trust survey and be encouraging as many people as possible to complete it.

“We will then share the results with the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust, who we trust will fully take account of the results and what people say”.