Cheltenham A&E to reopen as Covid-19 admissions fall

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image captionCheltenham General Hospital's A&E was closed in early 2020

An A&E department is due to reopen in response to falling Covid-19 admissions.

As part of a recovery plan Cheltenham General A&E and other NHS services will restart over the next three months.

Cheltenham A&E was closed in early 2020 and emergency cases sent to Gloucester as part of the response to Covid-19.

Health professionals said they hope vaccinations will aid the drop in cases but will "remain cautious" and guided by the evidence.

Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust made the decision to reopen the Cheltenham A&E by no later than 1 July. during a meeting on 2 March.

Other services to be reopened are the Aveta Birth Centre at Cheltenham General Hospital, from 8 March, and the Tewkesbury Minor Injury and Illness Unit (MIIU), from 1 April.

The trust's Medical Director, Dr Amjad Uppal, said the trust needed to be "cautious" and "cannot risk going backwards" when restarting services.

He said: "These changes have worked so far and we think another few months will support us as health services look to recover from the pandemic."

image copyrightMatt Cardy/Getty
image captionA&E services have been concentrated at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital during the pandemic

The plans for Gloucestershire also include:

  • An extension to the temporary reallocation of rehabilitation beds at the Vale Community Hospital in Dursley.
  • The continued temporary closure of the minor injury and illness units at Dilke Memorial Hospital and Vale Community Hospital.
  • Keeping the current opening hours (8am to 8pm) at Lydney, Cirencester, Stroud and North Cotswolds Minor Injury and Illness Units.

'Significant pressure'

Director of Safety and Medical Director at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation, Trust Mark Pietroni, said the reopening plans would be guided by rates of transmission, hospital admissions and the "continued success of the vaccination programme".

Clinical Chair of the NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Andy Seymour said: "We are not out of the woods by any means and the NHS still faces significant pressure.

"We believe that this three-month extension to a number of the temporary service changes is a pragmatic and proportionate step."

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