QUESTIONS are being asked about how the decision was made to slash the opening hours at Dursley’s hospital without any consultation.
Dursley county Cllr Steve Lydon is furious that no discussions were held with the public or Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) before Vale Community Hospital reduced its opening times for its minor injuries unit by 28 hours a week.
Cllr Lydon, who is also the chairman of GCC’s health and care overview and scrutiny committee, is incredulous he was not informed of the cutting of the service after first finding out from the Gazette’s story last week.
He has requested an urgent meeting with chief executive of the Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, Paul Jennings, to discuss concerns about the long term ramifications for the public service, telling the Gazette he wanted to see the trust reverse the decision.
“We want to know what the long term future of the hospital is if they are going to arbitrarily decide these measures,” he said.
“Is this a reflection of the low priority the NHS takes from the coalition government?
“They need to assure us they have taken everything into account.”
In response to the claims, Mr Jennings said the trust recognised that the role councillors played in the community was vitally important.
“I have apologised personally to Cllr Steve Lydon and Cllr Dorcas Binns that we did not brief the health overview and scrutiny committee before announcing the temporary changes to opening times at the Vale’s MIU,” he said.
“From our discussions this week, we now have an agreed process for briefing committee members ahead of changes and, as always, we welcome their feedback.”
The opening times have been temporarily changed to 10am to 6pm, meaning a 28 hour-a-week reduction in service because of an acute lack of nurses.
Normal opening hours of 8am to 8pm are set to resume in July.
During the next few months, the trust is running a recruitment campaign to employ more specialist nurses, as well as continuing to train and develop current nursing teams to further their skills and qualifications.