Cheltenham A&E department closing or restricting treatment over festive period due to junior doctors' strikes

19 December 2023, 17:28 | Updated: 19 December 2023, 17:29

Cheltenham General Hospital, Cheltenham, UK
Cheltenham General Hospital, Cheltenham, UK. Picture: Alamy
Jasmine Moody

By Jasmine Moody

The Cheltenham General Hospital's A&E unit will deal only with minor injuries and illness, diverting A&E cases to another hospital due to the junior doctor strikes, which start tomorrow.

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Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust has announced that Cheltenham A&E has temporarily closed from now until 8am on Saturday 23 December.

It will also close again on Monday 1 January at 8pm for 24 hours.

During those periods, no minor injury and illnesses unit (MIIU) services will be provided;

Treatment provided over the Christmas and New Year periods will be restricted.

Cheltenham General Hospital's A&E unit will switch to an MIIU service only from 8am to 8pm on Saturday 23 December, as well as Monday 1 January 2024 - it will be closed overnight.

The decision has "not been taken lightly", according to the trust and it will work closely with Glosturhsire’s health and care partners to ensure those in “greatest need continue to have access to high-quality care and support".

Read more: Junior doctors to stage fresh wave of strikes over Christmas and New Year period after rejecting new pay offer

Read more: Time for new debate on assisted dying, says Wes Streeting as Dame Esther Rantzen reveals Dignitas plan

The A&E normally has a consultant-led Emergency department for 12 hours, from 8am, and a nurse-led MIIU from 8pm to 8am.

The Health Secretary has said that the strike will mean extra pressure on the NHS during the already busy Christmas period.
The Health Secretary has said that the strike will mean extra pressure on the NHS during the already busy Christmas period. Picture: Alamy

Those suffering from life-threatening conditions, serious injuries, and other emergency care services will be centralised at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital 24/7 throughout this period.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust said it was part of an "Industrial action update: December and January", due to strikes planned by junior doctors as [a] dispute over pay continues.

The Health Secretary has said that the strike will mean extra pressure on the NHS during the already busy Christmas period.

Dr Ananthakrishnan Raghuram, chief medical officer at NHS Gloucestershire, said: "The latest round of strikes at the busiest time of the year will bring substantial challenges to the local NHS, particularly hospital services, and we are sorry that many patients will experience disruption to services.”

Junior doctors from the British Medical Association (BMA) are scheduled to strike for three days, from 7am on Wednesday.

A six-day strike is also planned for Wednesday 3 January - the longest in NHS history.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the strikes are “very disappointing”, in the Commons Liaison Committee, and said the government has demonstrated “considerable reasonableness” in reaching resolutions with other public sector workers.

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