Official Launch of REACH calls for transparency, openness and restoration of 24 hour emergency service at Cheltenham General Hospital

Are you aware that local health services in Cheltenham are under threat?

The Cheltenham Chamber are so concerned with the erosion of health services in Cheltenham that they have helped to set up and launch a local community campaign group called REACH (Restore Emergency at Cheltenham Hospital)

The Chamber’s concerns have led them to take action when the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust decided to downgrade the 24 hour emergency service (blue light) at Cheltenham General Hospital in July. The Official Launch of REACH on 21st May this year was attended by political leaders, local businesses and local residents.

“It is vital that the people of Cheltenham and North Gloucestershire are made aware of the diminishing NHS services at Cheltenham General Hospital and in particular the reduction in overnight A&E facilities” commented Michael Ratcliffe, Chief Executive of Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce, “The lack of transparency and openness by the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust makes it very difficult to accept that the public’s best interests are being catered for.”

The meeting was opened by the Chamber’s Chief Executive, Michael Ratcliffe, who invited former NHS consultant, Mr Geoff Cox, to give a brief overview of the undermining of health services in Cheltenham over a number of years, as the transfer of ENT to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, which despite a public outcry was followed by the transfer of Paediatrics. In addition, the transfer of both non-nurse led Obstetrics and Gynaecology to Gloucester and now the current downgrading of Cheltenham’s A&E facilities.

Local Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood in officially launching REACH emphasised the need to speak out and protect Cheltenham’s local health services, particularly the restoration of a 24/7 emergency service. During question time Alex Chalk, Prospective Conservative Parliamentary Candidate agreed that  REACH had a vital role to play in ensuring that health services in Cheltenham were not further diminished.

The meeting also heard from a number of individuals explaining how the town’s downgrading of health services have directly impacted on them.

The meeting ended with an appeal from the Chair of REACH, Michael Ratcliffe, asking both those present and members of the affected communities to do 3 things:

1) Become active in REACH and help us to grow the campaign, please telephone 01242 544599 for further information

2) Write to your local paper to express your concerns and opposition to the downgrading and undermining of health services in North Gloucestershire.

3) Make a donation to REACH via their website  – www.reachnow.org.uk or tel. 01242 544599

ENDS

For further information and comment please contact Michael Ratcliffe on 01242 544549

Kevin Daws

Press & Social Media Officer

Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce

Tel. 01242 228080

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