This week I wanted to celebrate some fantastic news for Cheltenham General Hospital – the award of £10 million to Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust for equipment replacement and infrastructure improvements.
There has been frenetic work behind the scenes to get to this point, ranging from a barrage of emails to Department of Health officials to MPs pressing the case in person with the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock. I know that local Trust managers have put in great deal of work too, and I am very grateful for their efforts.
So what will the cash go on? Over £1 million will be spent refurbishing Cheltenham’s Apollo theatre, with another £1.5 million allocated for the replacement of ageing medical equipment. £1.5 million will go on a new information management and technology platform and £2.5 million on rolling out a modern electronic patient record. There’s also £150,000 for ward improvement work and £265,000 for a ventilation scheme for Cheltenham’s theatres.
I am particularly delighted that £250,000 will be spent on OPMAS - the replacement chemotherapy prescribing system. This will simplify a complex task. For instance it will automatically calculate dosages according to the patient’s height and weight. There will be a reduction in transcribing and calculation errors, and precious time will be saved. It all helps in making Cheltenham a regional centre of excellence for cancer treatment.
Later this week I'll be meeting with the Chief Executive of NHS Improvement to discuss the future of CGH more broadly. I have called this meeting because I remain concerned about the future of our A&E. Readers will recall that back in 2013 night-time A&E was lost, and there has been a cloud of uncertainty hanging over it ever since. I believe it’s high time that cloud was lifted. I will be arguing passionately for a long-term plan that secures A&E and restores 24/7 provision.