At the time of writing I’m finalising my parliamentary question to Theresa May at Prime Minister’s questions on Wednesday.
I have decided to raise the issue of Cheltenham’s A&E, which has been the subject of rumour and speculation over recent weeks. Although NHS managers have been quick to slap down suggestions of any threat to its future, I am determined that they are left in no doubt about the value that is placed on our A&E locally. The message needs to go out loud and clear: Cheltenham deserves an acute emergency hospital, and one in which A&E is preserved and enhanced.
That’s why I’m making the point in Parliament that, as the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan is drafted over the coming months, the local NHS managers who ultimately make the key decisions, truly listen to the voices of local people. It is only then that proposals can can expect to command local support.
And when I say ‘local’ support, it’s worth remembering that our A&E isn’t just valued by Cheltenham’s 115,000 residents. It is relied upon by people far beyond – in villages ranging from Bourton to Stow to Moreton-in-Marsh. I myself was treated in Cheltenham in the past following a cycling accident that took place near Andoversford.
That’s why I have been keeping my MP colleagues in the Cotswolds and Tewkesbury updated about the position in Cheltenham. They are following events closely and I will be meeting them again this week.
I also want to thank all those selfless members of the community who rallied round to hand out water and other support to those affected by the burst water pipe in Churchdown.
I have spoken to Severn Trent and been kept updated about the repairs. I have made clear to them that there will need to be an investigation into how such a large pipe was able to fail with such significant consequences. My constituents who pay their water bills rightly expect infrastructure that is fit for purpose.
We need total transparency on what went wrong.