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Posted 22/07/2013


Yesterday's decision by the GCCG was not only a flawed decision it was the wrong decision for residents across Gloucestershire.ommented Michael Ratcliffe, Chief Executive of Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce, We fear that the decision to reduce the A&E service at Cheltenham was taken some time ago.

We challenge the GCCG to demonstrate that they and their predecessors, the PCT, did everything possible to recruit to the vacant A&E posts including taking pro-active action such as recruiting activity outside Gloucestershire, and increasing the salaries offered to attract more applicants.

We call on them to publically state and guarantee that the funding available for the 20 full-time Emergency Department posts at Cheltenham General Hospital and Gloucester Royal Hospital will be protected and not siphoned off to be spent elsewhere and disappear into the NHS blackhole. We understand that 12 of the 20 posts are currently filled.

We also ask them to give a commitment to ensuring that the Emergency Department including Emergency Ambulances going to Cheltenham General hospital 24/7 is re-instated within the next 12 months. Any unwillingness to give such a guarantee can only be interpreted as a statement of intent to permanently further reduce the A&E Services at Cheltenham General Hospital.

It is clearly unacceptable that an expanding town as large as Cheltenham circa 120,000 population and its surrounding communities, should be denied a 24/7 Emergency Ambulance Service taking patients directly to Cheltenham General Hospital

In light of yesterday's decision by the GCCG the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce will reflect on the current situation and decide whether to proceed with an application for a judicial review, commented Michael Ratcliffe, We are committed to standing up for Cheltenham and protecting the interests of the residents, visitors and importantly our businesses. We will consider all the options and announce our decision as soon as practicable.

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