Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Consultation into proposed Gloucestershire bed closures

A public consultation has taken place into proposals to cut 200 beds at Gloucestershire's two main hospitals.

Healthcare bosses set up drop in sessions in Cheltenham and Gloucester to provide extra information.

The NHS Foundation Trust announced proposals to close 200 beds at Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals in February.

But the plan was delayed after councillors felt there should be more discussion.

The county councils' health, community and care scrutiny committee called an urgent meeting earlier this month to examine and discuss the proposed changes with health bosses.

'Tough challenges'

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust agreed to delay closing beds until further consultation.

The Trust had said it had to save between £27m and £30m in the 2010/11 financial year, due to reductions in public sector spending for the foreseeable future.

The first phase of bed closures was originally proposed to start from 1 April.

Councillor Andrew Gravells, chairman of the committee, said: "We understand that the NHS is facing some tough budget challenges. However, the decision to reduce the number of beds in our two biggest hospitals must be scrutinised and consulted on in depth if we are going to understand the real impact it will have on staff and local people."

Visitors to the events at Cheltenham Town Hall and Gloucester Guildhall on Saturday had the chance to talk to NHS representatives.

An information booklet has also been published.

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