Page last updated at 14:13 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Gloucestershire hospitals bed closure plan delayed

Hospital bed
The trust proposed the bed closures to help save up to 30m

Plans to close up to 200 hospital beds in Gloucestershire have been further delayed after a scrutiny committee decided more consultation was needed.

The NHS trust which runs the county's two main hospitals announced the money-saving proposals two weeks ago.

But the plans were suspended and put before the county council's health overview and scrutiny committee after protests from local councillors.

The trust has now been asked to carry out more consultation and report back.

No timescale has been put on the consultation period.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust 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.

We owe it to them to make sure the people of Gloucestershire get the answers that they're entitled to
Andrew Gravells, chairman

The bed closure plan was due to start at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH) from 1 April and closures at Cheltenham General Hospital were to follow.

Councillors said there had been no public consultation on the plans and called for the trust to suspend its programme of cuts immediately.

At Tuesday's scrutiny meeting, the trust's chief executive, Dr Frank Harsent, apologised for the lack of communication about the proposed closures.

Chairman of the committee, Andrew Gravells, said he was "embarrassed to have not been in the loop".

Afterwards he said: "There are a load of people out there in Gloucestershire who are worried for their future, worried about their jobs, who are worried about the services they receive from the National Health Service.

"We owe it to them to make sure the people of Gloucestershire get the answers that they're entitled to."

The committee backed a proposal to combine the stroke and neurology units at Gloucestershire Royal as soon as possible as it was in the interests of patients.



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SEE ALSO
Minister attacks bed closure plan
05 Mar 10 |  Gloucestershire
Council wants hospital bed review
24 Feb 10 |  Gloucestershire
Up to 200 hospital beds to close
18 Feb 10 |  Gloucestershire

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