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Cheltenham A&E downgrade: All overnight ambulances to Gloucester from tonight

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: July 29, 2013

Cheltenham General Hospital

Comments (4)

AMBULANCES will no longer take patients to A&E at Cheltenham General Hospital overnight as of this evening.

Controversial plans to downgrade the emergency unit at the hospital in College Road come into effect today.

All ambulances will now go straight to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital between the hours of 8pm and 8am.

However, Cheltenham will still be open overnight to help the walking wounded.

Related content

The shake-up comes after months of consultation and opposition from campaigners and politicians alike.

Both hospitals are dealing with a national shortage of emergency medicine doctors.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the General and the Royal, has constantly reiterated it has no plans to close the town’s A&E entirely.

It has said its priority is to “ensure that the sickest patients are seen by very skilled staff when they need to be”.

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  • JohnChelt  |  July 30 2013, 10:59PM

    Closing the A&E dept to ambulances at night also conveniently glosses over the fact that if someone from Cheltenham has a heart attack or other serious illness after 8pm, as soon as they've been treated they'll be discharged. All that matters nowadays is whether you can walk out of the hospital, and if you can, you're expected to leave. In the case of evening A&E admissions, this can be at any time of the night. But this will now happen in GLOUCESTER, not in Cheltenham. So instead of calling a taxi to take them the mile-or-so home from Cheltenham General, which is bad enough when you're recovering from a heart attack/stroke/serious illness/being attacked, patients will now be expected to firstly find their way back to Cheltenham from GLOUCESTER, in the middle of the night. If this isn't a crazy idea, I don't know what is. However, for some patients this won't be a problem, as they'll have died during the 8-mile ambulance trip to Gloucester.....

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  • JohnChelt  |  July 30 2013, 10:54PM

    yeayea etc - I think you'll find you're wrong, as I have a neighbour who's had two heart attacks recently, and on both occasions he was taken by ambulance to Cheltenham General and treated there.

  • yeayeayea1  |  July 29 2013, 7:38PM

    If someone has a heart attack at 9pm they'd be taken to Bristol Heart institute anyway not Gloucester.

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  • JohnChelt  |  July 29 2013, 4:49PM

    This is disgraceful. So if someone in Cheltenham has a heart attack at 9pm, precious minutes -- which means LIVES -- will be lost while the ambulance ferries them the 8 miles to Gloucester, instead of just 1 mile to Cheltenham Hospital as at present. Don't be fooled by the claim that this is being done due to recent 'recruitment' problems. It's purely to cut costs. Glos NHS Trust have been trying to close down Cheltenham's A&E completely for several years now, and this is just a convenient excuse to begin the process. They've now achieved this, and within a year or two will close it completely -- just watch this space.... Appalling.

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