Safe for now? Plans to close Cheltenham Hospital's A&E service have been delayed

The A&E service is currently only active during the day. Credit: ITV West Country

Plans to close Cheltenham Hospital’s A&E department have been delayed. Gloucestershire Royal Hospital NHS Trust was due to announce the start of a consultation today, and instead has announced that it will “temporarily pause the start of this process.”

Plans were announced last week (Friday 2 August) that the service will be closing. Credit: ITV West Country

The move comes after widespread outcry from local residents and local MP Alex Chalk, after he leaked details of the plans on Friday (2 August) last week.

Alex Chalk had called out the “bad proposal” for being “cynical and completely wrong.”

Local MP, Alex Chalk, has started a petition to oppose the proposal. Credit: ITV West Country

Local Councillor, Tim Harman, also released a statement today calling the proposals a “complete betrayal” of the NHS Trust’s previous promise. He said:

I am pleased that following the immediate intervention of Alex Chalk MP, local NHS Managers were forced to withdraw their plans. It is important that we now reinforce that message. I want the full Council to back this call for these proposals to be dropped completely. This needs to be a decision of Full Council. We don’t want it kicked into the long grass and delayed in Committee or it will lose credibility. It is time for Cheltenham to unite and make it clear that A and E must remain in Cheltenham. We can’t go back to the bad old days when Cheltenham NHS was treated as a second class service by local managers.

Tim Harman, Leader Cheltenham Conservative Group

Alex Chalk has since responded to the news:

I warmly welcome this decision. But the Trust now needs to go further and rule out downgrading Cheltenham’s A&E. I and the thousands of people who have contacted me will challenge any such plans every step of the way.

Alex Chalk MP

The Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust gave the following statement today:

When launched, this will very much be a process of engagement; we really want to hear what people think about how services could be provided in the future and have a genuine and open discussion about this.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE HOSPITALS NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

Read more: Plans to close Cheltenham's A&E department confirmed by town's MP