Page last updated at 13:14 GMT, Friday, 5 March 2010

Minister criticises hospital bosses over bed closures

Cheltenham General Hospital
The trust needs to save up to 30m in the next financial year

Managers of Gloucestershire's hospitals trust have been accused of a "lack of imagination" by Health Minister Mike O'Brien over plans to close 200 beds.

Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals are facing the cuts to save money.

Speaking at a Commons debate Mr O'Brien said that blaming the economic climate was for the cuts was "nonsense".

The trust did not want to react to his comments before a council scrutiny meeting next week looks into the plans.

Mr O'Brien said he had written to the trust expressing his concern.

"Thankfully, they have now decided that that sort of slash-and-burn announcement is unnecessary and needs to be looked at with care," he said.

Public scrutiny

"It is a product of a lack of imagination by managers, and managers need to be very careful when they go down that route."

The trust has said it must save between £27m and £30m in the 2010/11 financial year because of reductions in public sector spending for the foreseeable future.

A statement said: "Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recognises the importance of working with local stakeholders.

"We agree that any proposals should be subject to public scrutiny and will be present at the [scrutiny committee] on 9 March to explain in more detail and receive the views of elected members.

"We remain committed to achieving the best outcome for the people of Gloucestershire."



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SEE ALSO
Council wants hospital bed review
24 Feb 10 |  Gloucestershire
Up to 200 hospital beds to close
18 Feb 10 |  Gloucestershire

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