Cheltenham Festival: Town's A&E to be closed for duration of race week amid junior doctor's strike

Crowds during day one of the Cheltenham Festival 2022

Hundreds of thousands of people are due to descend onto Cheltenham for the races next week - but the town's A&E will be closed for half of the festival.

Last year, more than 280,000 people visited Cheltenham Festival during the four-day event.

When the day's racing ends, many revellers then continue the party in Cheltenham's pubs and bars.

This year people are being urged to take extra care as the town's A&E will be closed for the first two days of the festival because of the junior doctor's strike.

It will instead be operating as a minor injuries unit and will be run by nurses. This change will be in place from 8pm on Sunday 12 March to 8am on Thursday 16 March.

Cheltenham Festival begins on Tuesday 14 March and ends with Gold Cup Friday on 17 March.

Patients across Gloucestershire are also being warned to expect cancellations to planned outpatient appointments, procedures and operations.

Patients who have a planned hospital operation, outpatient clinic or procedure should attend as usual unless they hear from their NHS Trust to advise otherwise.

Chief Medical Officer at NHS Gloucestershire, Dr Andy Seymour said: “The 72-hour strike will bring substantial challenges to the local NHS, particularly hospital services, and we are sorry that many patients will experience disruption to services.

The A&E department will instead be operating as a minor injuries unit for the first two days of the festival

"One Gloucestershire health and care partners are working closely together to ensure those in greatest need continue to have access to high-quality care and support between Monday and Thursday.

"We cannot emphasise enough how important it will be to keep A&E in Gloucester clear for life-threatening conditions and serious injuries.

"The public can help by thinking carefully about their healthcare options and getting advice when needed from NHS 111. Advice will also be available through local NHS social media channels.”

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