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Gloucestershire Business News

Phased reopening for Cheltenham A&E department

Cheltenham General Hospital's A&E department will begin a phased reopening next month as hospital admissions for coronavirus remain low.

Temporary changes were introduced last summer as part of the hospital's response to the pandemic.

From June 9, the department will reopen as a consultant-led service from 8am-8pm every day before the reinstatement of the overnight nurse-led service on June 30.

A number of other services, including medical admissions, will be restored to support the reopening.

Professor Mark Pietroni, director of safety and medical director at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The A&E service in Cheltenham is very well regarded in the east of the county so this announcement will come as welcome news.

"The reinstatement of the service to an A&E department will be done over a three-week period in June to ensure the smooth and safe transition.

"We are confident these measures have reduced Covid-19 transmission among staff and patients and have enabled us to continue to provide planned care and cancer diagnosis and treatment, especially to those patients who are most vulnerable."

He continued: "The success of these changes has been demonstrated in many ways including our 62-day and two-week wait cancer performance standards where we have been one of the best performers in the country in seeing and treating patients referred to us by their GP.

"The public have played their part in helping make our hospitals as safe as possible by following national guidance and being responsive to advice locally when accessing care.

"These measures mean we are in a stronger position as we begin to emerge from the pandemic and look to recover the elective work postponed to make way for Covid patients."

Cheltenham A&E has been operating as a Minor Injuries and Illness Unit with no overnight service with Gloucestershire Royal Hospital having a 24-hour A&E department.

Restoring the service to pre-pandemic levels from July 1 is in line with commitments agreed with the local Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Cheltenham is set to benefit from a £6.5million investment in its radiology department which means emergency patients accessing A&E will benefit from faster, more accurate and better diagnostic tests such as X-rays and MRI scans.

Improvement works, which are scheduled to be completed in the autumn, include three new CT scanners, an additional MRI scanner and a much improved physical environment.

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