Statement: Our Emergency Department
Dr Tom Llewellyn, Clinical Director for Emergency Care, said: “It is really important that we clarify the position of how our Emergency Departments (ED) at Cheltenham General Hospital and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital are operating following recent reports. Any suggestion of a climbdown or U-turn on how care is provided at these sites is inaccurate.
“As part of the original consultation which Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group staged earlier in the year we said that once the new services at Cheltenham were established, we would work with colleagues in the ambulance service to develop an admission pathway to CGH for people who ring 999 with a stable medical condition. That’s exactly what we are doing now. As planned additional patients can now be treated at the hospital’s assessment unit. However, patients with life threatening conditions picked up by ambulances will continue to be treated at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital at night time.
“The night time changes to the Emergency Department at Cheltenham were devised by our clinical staff to provide more robust senior cover and as a consequence better and safer service for patients. We are now beginning to see these benefits for patients.
“But we shouldn’t forget why we have made these changes. We have been facing increasing pressures as nationally, recruitment into emergency medicine remains extremely challenging and the Trust has not been able to recruit close to the number of recommended doctors in emergency medicine it needs to provide services in the way they were originally set up in the county.
“The bringing together of emergency medicine doctors at night time in Gloucester supports early senior assessment and decision making when patients reach hospital and ensures that there is more robust senior medical cover, round the clock. Our focus for now and in the future must be to provide as safe a service as possible with the resources available to us.”