Monday 14 October is an important date in our campaign to save Cheltenham’s A&E.
It’s the deadline for members of the public to respond to the “engagement exercise” being run by local health managers (One Gloucestershire) on the future of healthcare in Gloucestershire. As I've written before, this “engagement” matters because One Gloucestershire have stated that the feedback will, in their words, “inform future planning” for the firm proposals that are expected to go out for statutory consultation in January 2020.
In other words, what the public says now will help decide whether Cheltenham keeps its A&E.
Nearly 20,000 people have signed my petition to keep this vital facility open, and that number is rising every day. But despite this, One Gloucestershire have declined to take closure off the table. That's concerning, because an email leaked earlier this year suggested shutting A&E was, in reality, the settled plan.
It has been suggested to me that the number of respondents to the engagement has so far been relatively small. If so, that may be for a number of reasons. First, awareness seems to be quite low; second, the form isn't straightforward to navigate (not least understanding the technical differences between 'urgent' and 'emergency' care is tricky); and third, some are sceptical about the process, noting that One Gloucestershire originally planned for it to take place between 5 August and 2 September when many were away - timing that led some to conclude that One Gloucestershire were just going through the motions.
Despite all that I still think we need to cooperate with the engagement. It provides another opportunity to make our views heard about retaining A&E, and I don't want it to be used as a pretext, however flimsy, for an unwelcome proposal.
So can I encourage you to take this last opportunity to respond, if you haven't already?
You can find the survey online at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/fitforthefuture/ to provide a personal response.
Alternatively, because I realise people are busy, if you agree with the answers to the engagement that I’ve drafted above then email me at email@example.com to let me know you agree, and provide your postcode if possible. I will then make sure your views are submitted, as per the photo above.
*If you can't read the text in the photos, please open the word document attached below*
|Survey Drafted Responses .docx||1.97 MB|