More investment for Cheltenham General Hospital! Last week I was delighted to visit the £2m+ Apollo theatre at CGH, just days before it opened to NHS patients.
This state-of-the-art facility is as good as you’ll find anywhere in the world. It includes a sophisticated ventilation system that pumps ultra-filtered air into the theatre, reducing the risk of post-operative infections. The adjoining room for anaesthetic procedures has been expanded and modernised too, improving the environment for patients and staff.
This is great news for anyone who needs an orthopaedic procedure, such as a knee or hip replacement. Patients will now come from across the county to receive expert care in our town. It also helps with something I am strongly committed to – securing CGH’s status as a truly general hospital. It’s a morale boost for local NHS staff too.
The money comes from a £10m Government capital grant, over and above the £39m allocated to Gloucestershire Hospitals last year. I was asked to help with unlocking that £10m when progress with officials stalled, and it involved a lot of time working behind the scenes at the Department of Health, and then lobbying directly the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock.
So I'm delighted that we got this over the line. I‘m very grateful to local NHS staff who put in a great deal of work to get to this point, drafting and backing the bid.
Winning this investment is just one aspect of the campaigning work to secure our hospital’s future. On the issue of where general (ie gastro-intestinal) surgery services are to be located in future, I have written this week to the Trust managers with constructive proposals that would end the stand-off from earlier this year, whilst securing Cheltenham General for the long-term. It’s in everyone’s interests to get this resolved and move on to a bright future for CGH.