It’s fantastic news that our new £11 million community hospital in the Forest of Dean is another step closer, which we now know is expected to open in 2023.
After careful review of all the feedback from the latest Public Consultation and detailed consideration of developments in local healthcare and health needs in the area, Gloucestershire’s NHS have confirmed the range of services they will commission in our new hospital.
This is great news as these services will reduce the need for many to use the hospitals in Gloucester and Cheltenham and will include:
24 inpatient beds with ensuite bathrooms in predominantly single rooms;
An urgent care facility, open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, supported by a range of diagnostic services;
Outpatient services, including a range of consultation, treatment and group rooms and additional areas for online consultations for the provision of outpatient services;
Diagnostic services, including a dedicated endoscopy unit, x-ray, ultrasound and blood-testing (phlebotomy) and space for mobile units such as the Chemotherapy Bus and Breast Screening Service;
Parking for approximately 150 vehicles and agreement on a bus stop, either within the site or adjacent to it;
Flexible meeting space that can be accessed by health and care organisations plus wider voluntary sector organisations.
The new hospital will be run by Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, with services primarily provided by their staff, healthcare professionals from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and local GPs.
I’m also pleased by the commitment from the NHS to proceed urgently with exploring the options for the provision of urgent care services in the south of the Forest.
The NHS has said they are committed to progressing with the engagement in the south of the Forest of Dean, including a new primary care premises as a priority in their plan and primary care (GPs) in the south of the Forest will be working up their plan with partners in the coming months.
This was confirmed to me by Gloucestershire’s NHS leadership in a meeting I had with them yesterday and I was reassured by how strong their commitment is to developing health services in the south of the Forest, meaning the provision of impressive new facilities like Cinderford’s new Medical Centre that I’m pictured with.
Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust will produce a formal business case setting out the design specification and financial plan for the building along with the ongoing operation of the new hospital. It is anticipated that this will be presented to the Board of Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust for approval in spring 2021.
The consultation report, recommendations, supporting information and rationale can be read in full at www.fodhealth.nhs.uk/consultation.