A&E licence breach must prompt Cheltenham Hospital rethink

Today, regulator NHS Improvement has declared Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust in breach of its licence because of continuing failures to meet the four hour A&E waiting target.  As a result, Gloucestershire Conservatives are calling for a rethink of the decision, taken in 2013, to downgrade Cheltenham Accident and Emergency Department at night, leaving Gloucester’s Royal Hospital as the only A&E department in the county open between 8pm and 8am.  Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk has called for an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State for Health to discuss the situation.  Cllr Tim Harman, Conservative County Councillor for Lansdown and Park has submitted a motion to the next County Council, calling for an urgent review of the situation.

Cllr Harman commented:

“NHS staff at Gloucestershire Hospitals are doing an excellent job, and the NHS is receiving record funding, so we need to look at exactly what is going wrong here.  In particular, we need to look at whether the decision to downgrade Cheltenham Accident and Emergency at night is making this situation worse.  To me it seems like it could be – if you have less capacity across the county, then you would expect things to slow down.”

Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham, commented:

“This is very concerning news.  I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State for Health to look into this matter.  With record NHS funding nationally, people have a right to expect timely and effective health services.  As a priority, I would expect Gloucestershire Hospital NHS Trust to urgently review their decision to downgrade Cheltenham A&E at night.”