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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 21:06 GMT 22:06 UK
Maternity hospital escapes cuts
Save our maternity unit petition
Many inpatient services are to be centralised to Gloucestershire Royal
Health chiefs have decided to save Stroud maternity hospital from closure at a meeting to discuss how 40m is to be saved from Gloucestershire's NHS.

Cheltenham's maternity unit has also been spared closure, but will now only offer midwife-led births.

The meeting between the three local Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) also decided to centralise some inpatient services, including urology and gynaecology.

Routine IVF treatment will also be stopped in Gloucestershire.

Winchcombe, Dilke and Lydney Memorial community hospitals could all be saved from closure as health chiefs have given local GPs and stakeholders four weeks to finalise their plans to commission services themselves.

The three PCTs Cheltenham and Tewkesbury, Cotswold and Vale, West Gloucestershire, have also agreed to:

  • Approve the centralisation to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital of all inpatient services for oral maxillo-facial surgery, vascular surgery, urology and (except for complex surgery for cancer) gynaecology
  • Centralise all consultant-led births to Gloucestershire's Royal Hospital
  • Tighten the rules on patient transport services by possibly charging for some journeys
  • Close all beds at Delancey Hospital and transfer patients to rehabilitation beds at Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals and to increase rehabilitation in patients' homes by 2009
  • Develop a new health campus in Moreton-in-Marsh and redevelop the Moore Cottage Hospital site at Bourton-on-the-Water
  • Support the change in opening hours of Berkeley and Tewkesbury Hospital's Minor Injuries Units with opening hours from 8am to 8pm from 1 November 2006

    The boards will also look into developing a new model for urgent and emergency care by integrating out of hours centres with A & E departments and introducing weekday emergency outpatient clinics.

    Careful consideration

    Chair of Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Primary Care Trust and Chair designate of Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust, Ruth FitzJohn said: "As promised at the beginning of this consultation, we have considered very carefully the differing views and needs of our local communities including the views of local healthcare professionals.

    "First and foremost, our priority has been to safeguard the range and quality of services for the longer term, whilst seeking to establish a sound financial footing for the future.

    "This will continue to be our guiding principle and the views of the public, our partners and our staff have been very important in helping us to reach our decisions."

    Protestors have campaigned heavily against the cuts since the proposals were made in May. More than 3,000 people took part in a rally in Stroud in June and a petition was sent to Westminster.

    A nurse from Cheltenham's maternity unit said: "I'm disappointed to lose the consultant-led unit but glad to retain a midwife-led unit but I feel it's a bit of an after thought."




    SEE ALSO
    Beds closure decision is upheld
    04 Jul 06 |  Somerset
    Health cuts debated in parliament
    13 Jun 06 |  Gloucestershire
    Town rallies against health cuts
    10 Jun 06 |  Gloucestershire
    Council debates health provision
    30 May 06 |  Gloucestershire
    Big cuts to county's NHS services
    10 May 06 |  Gloucestershire

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