Local NHS bosses are keeping Cheltenham A&E closed. They say it’s only temporary because of staff sickness and other pressures from Covid19, but despite heroic efforts by frontline NHS staff, Gloucester A&E is struggling to cope. It was failing waiting targets every month even before the pandemic.
The Hospitals Trust has admitted to Lib Dem councillors that ambulances have been queuing up outside Gloucester A&E and now we're facing winter flu and a second wave of Covid19 with only one A&E.
Alex Hegenbarth, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for the Tewkesbury constituency, said "Residents from across the constituency rely on the services at both Cheltenham General and Gloucester Royal, and the closure of Cheltenham's A&E puts services under pressure and lives at risk."
In June 2020, Cheltenham General Hospital's A&E was turned into a minor injury and illness unit for a three-month period but despite the pandemic the NHS Trust are conducting a consultation process on local service provisions and now want to extend the temporary closure until the end of March 2021.
Alex added "Both Cheltenham's and Tewkesbury's MPs have said that they've accepted the Trust's reassurances, but now we hear they're also consulting on more permanent changes to Cheltenham General - some of which could make it even more difficult to bring another full A&E back to the area."
"Local Liberal Democrats have already demanded a definite plan to bring back a proper Cheltenham A&E and we'll be making it clear during this consultation we don't want any more downgrades to Cheltenham."