Survey calls for hospital care close to home
By Sarah Wood | 14th January 2021
People in Gloucestershire would prefer their hospital care close to home, according to an independent report.
Restore Emergency at Cheltenham General Hospital (REACH) has published the results of its Fit for the Future survey, launched in November last year.
The survey was created following concerns that the local NHS and care services' own One Gloucestershire survey had been constructed in a way that meant the results could be used to justify a decision which respondents would not have supported.
REACH found that the public would overwhelmingly prefer care closer to home. The public understand that there are significant bed pressures at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, which would be amplified further by centralising acute medicine and emergency surgery at GRH.
The public are concerned that proposals to centralise emergency medicine and surgery at GRH may downgrade Cheltenham. REACH believes that the excellent facilities and dedicated staff at both hospitals should be used efficiently.
If One Gloucestershire goes ahead with proposals to centralise emergency care at Gloucester, REACH believes that as much planned major surgery as possible should take place at Cheltenham, to use the beds, nursing expertise and excellent intensive care unit at Cheltenham.
Michael Ratcliffe MBE, chairman of REACH said: "We launched our own survey, to gather the real preferences of local people in Gloucestershire who will be affected by these proposals.
"Through these findings, the public has made their feelings very clear indeed and we urge One Gloucestershire to take these into consideration during their deliberations.
"The launch of Fit for the Future during the worst pandemic in living memory has caused much concern among the public and REACH. The Covid pandemic has wrought havoc to our healthcare system and caused the delay and cancellation of non-Covid related healthcare for millions of people.
"REACH believes that any proposal for the future must include resilience planning for future pandemics. One Gloucestershire's Fit for the Future proposals include no proposals to render our local healthcare system more robust and we would exhort our healthcare leaders to re-examine the proposals in the light of the events of the last nine months.
"Whilst we wrestle with these issues and the proposals, we must not lose sight of the fantastic work being done by NHS staff both locally and nationally, under very difficult circumstances. REACH would like to express its heartfelt thanks for all their hard work, dedication and compassion."
Photo credit: Google Image July 2018
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