Crunch time for Forest hospitals

By Aaron Kendall   |   Assistant Editor   |
Friday 19th January 2018 1:20 pm
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NEW HOSPITAL PLANS: Katie Norton, chief executive of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust and Ellen Rule, director of transformation at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group. ()

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AFTER months of uncertainty, the debate over the future of both Dilke and Lydney hospitals reaches ‘critical mass’ at a public meeting on Thursday (Jan 25).

County NHS chiefs have called the meeting at Forest Hills Golf Club in Coleford to decide the fate of the Forest’s existing two hospitals following a public questionnaire exercise last year.

Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust and NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group want to close the two existing hospitals and replace them with a new purpose built £11 million on a site yet to be determined.

A damning 24-page ‘Case for Change’ report published last year said it is no longer economical to run the two units and that improvements to the buildings would be prohibitive due to asbestos.

However, the move to close the two hospitals has met with fierce opposition within the community and Thursday’s meeting, which is to be held in public, is almost certain to attract protestors.

Dr Andy Seymour clinical chairman of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The consultation, including the outcome report, offered real insight into the issues that matter to staff, members of the public and community partners.

“Governing body members recognise that they have an important responsibility to review and consider the information presented to them before any decisions are made on the preferred option.

A preliminary report on the results of the questionnaire was made county’s health and care overview and scrutiny committee earlier this month by Katie Norton, chief executive of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust and Mary Hutton, accountable officer of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.

This revealed that public opinion on the principle of replacing the two existing hospitals was fairly evenly divided with 46 per cent opposed to the change and 43 per cent in favour and the rest ‘don’t know’.

However, the public consultation did exposed two major fears.

Will the proposed now hospital have sufficient bed capacity to cope with demand and will the site make it readily accessible by public transport?

• To attend Thursday’s meeting contact: Christina Gradowski, NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group. By email: [email protected] Tel: 0300 4211505

OR:

Gillian Steels, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust. By email: [email protected] Tel: 0300 421 6393.

Seating will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

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