Following Alex Chalk’s intervention, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust managers have paused publication of their plans to try and downgrade Cheltenham’s A&E services.
The Cheltenham MP raised concerns last Friday after received leaked information about the Trust’s proposals. Alex Chalk then raised the matter directly with the Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The proposals were due to be announced by GHNHSFT on Monday 5 August 2019 but have been (at least temporarily) withdrawn.
Alex Chalk said “I warmly welcome this decision. But the Trust now needs to go further and rule out downgrading Cheltenham’s A&E. I and the thousands of people who have contacted me will challenge any such plans every step of the way.
“Downgrading Cheltenham A&E is completely unacceptable, not just for people in Cheltenham, but for those living right across the north and east of our county. Time and again, NHS managers told me this wasn’t their plan – even that this was “scaremongering”. I am so dismayed that those assurances were hollow.
“I am particularly angry because I supported our local NHS in their campaign for more funding – helping to secure a settlement that will see funding go up from £122bn a year to £149bn a year by 2023. Here in Gloucestershire the Trust has been awarded a capital grant of £39m plus an additional £10m which I personally helped to extract from the Dept of Health.”