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Gloucestershire Business News

REACH outlines concerns over hospital safety

Campaigners for the return of emergency treatment at Cheltenham General Hospital has expressed concerns over the safety of arrangements for surgery in Gloucestershire.

The Restore Emergency at Cheltenham General Hospital (REACH) campaign presented its concerns, together with the results from a survey of patients, to Gloucestershire County Council health overview and scrutiny committee.



REACH said its concerns are expressed in the context of a study that shows 20 per cent of planned surgical patients who contract COVID-19 die within 30 days.

Chairman Michael Ratcliffe said: "We fully recognise the need to restart planned surgery post-COVID.

"It is vital, however, that this is conducted in a manner that is as safe as possible.

"We have some very grave concerns about the current arrangements and felt that the council committee, given its oversight role, should be made aware of these."

He continued: "We also felt strongly that in the absence of any public consultationt, the public should be given the opportunity to express their views about the current situation, which is why we conducted this survey and are sharing the highlights."

The campaign's safety concerns are:

  • Continuation of major planned surgery at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital when a COVID-free site and intensive care unit is available at Cheltenham General Hospital.
  • Transfer of arterial vascular surgery from the specialist unit at Cheltenham General Hospital to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
  • Potential mixing of planned and emergency surgical patients on levels two and five in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital's tower block.
  • Removal of emergency theatre at Cheltenham General Hospital, necessitating transfer of planned surgical patients with complications to Gloucester.
  • The survey was conductions over three weeks from the middle of June with 513 responses, almost 97 per cent of which came from within the catchment area for Cheltenham General Hospital.

Among the findings of the research presented to the committee:

  • 97 per cent of respondents said that it was important to be made aware of COVID risks during surgery.
  • 28 per cent of patients who had surgery during the pandemic or are on a waiting list have been informed about the risks of surgery during the crisis.
  • 29 per cent said Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had separated elective and emergency facilities satisfactorily.

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