Residents in Winchcombe upset over beds in Tewkesbury Hospital
RESIDENTS in Winchcombe say they have been "short-changed" by health chiefs.
Winchcombe Hospital closed in 2008, after bosses at the NHS Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust agreed it could no longer provide the high standard of healthcare expected by local people.
Winchcombe town councillors now say they had been told by the NHS that proceeds from the sale would go towards building the new Tewkesbury community hospital, which opened last month.
And so they are incensed that they are not getting more access to beds in the new hospital.
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Instead, health bosses have promised 13 of the 20 beds in the new Tewkesbury Hospital to residents who live within Tewkesbury town and the surrounding area.
It means Winchcombe residents have access only to the remaining seven.
Instead, they will be sent to Cheltenham Hospital, despite resident complaints that it is much harder for them to get to than Tewkesbury.
County councillor Roger Wilson (C, Winchcombe and Woodmancote) said the town needed better service from the NHS.
He said: "I think residents in Winchcombe feel quite hard done by the NHS in recent years. The town has lost their community hospital, and I'm not sure people in Winchcombe are being properly represented.
"Over time, we will expect the situation to improve. I will definitely fight Winchcombe's corner to ensure the residents here have their say."
Deputy accountable officer for NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Mark Walkingshaw said: "We are sorry to hear of the councillor's concerns and are keen for him to contact us so we can provide a detailed response.
"We are committed to ensuring that patients across the county, including Winchcombe, continue to have access to high quality bed-based care when clinically appropriate.
"There are a range of services available to people living in Winchcombe, such as community beds and hospital care for those with a higher level of need. Working with our partners, we are also investing in joined-up community health and social care teams to provide a greater proportion of care in the patient's own home.
"Funds from the sale of Winchcombe Hospital were used for the general commissioning of services in Gloucestershire – they were not directly used for the new hospital in Tewkesbury."
The former Winchcombe Hospital site was bought by Gloucestershire businessman David Attwood in March, for around £2.25 million.
It had been used for storage since 2008, when it closed. The members of the Gloucestershire PCT board agreed unanimously to buy six beds from the Cleeve Hill Nursing Home nearby.
NHS and social care staff are employed at the care home to look after the patients.