Tewkesbury's new hospital finally opens
PATIENTS finally moved in as Tewkesbury's new £10 million community hospital opened yesterday.
After a nine-week delay, caused by problems with electrical and mechanical systems, the Barton Road facility began operating normally at 8am.
Patients who had been in beds in the old hospital next door were moved in to some of the 20 beds that the new building contains. By noon yesterday, 17 of them had been filled.
Staff and NHS managers were all smiles as they celebrated the hospital opening its doors to the public.
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Margy Fowler is the Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury locality manager for Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, which owns and manages the new site.
She said it was "absolutely fabulous" that the opening day had arrived and added: "The main feeling is one of excitement. We're pleased to be here."
Julie Symonds, the manager of the minor injuries' unit (MIU), said: "It's great news.
"We're thrilled to be in our new department and are looking forward to taking lots of patients in. We've got some fantastic kit."
Jennifer Attwood, of Queen's Road, Prior's Park, Tewkesbury, was one of the first people to seek help at the MIU. She wanted her one-year-old daughter, Ella-May, to be looked at because she had bumped her head on a gate.
Jennifer said: "It took them long enough to open it but it looks posh. They've put some effort into it."
She said she felt more inclined to use the new hospital whereas in the past she would go to Cheltenham or Gloucester's hospitals instead.
Kevin Cromwell, chairman of Tewkesbury Hospital Friends, said: "It's fantastic that it's open. We're now able to start using our brand new state-of-the-art facility that we've had built for us.
"I know the nurses there are very excited about using it. For them, it's what they dreamed of." He added that it had been frustrating for everyone that the opening had been delayed but he was sure that would be quickly forgotten now the hospital was up and running.
Mrs Fowler revealed that yesterday had been a transitional day with patients being given their breakfast in the old hospital but then being served their lunch in the new one.
Outpatients, she said, were still being seen in the old building in the morning but the switch to them all being seen in the new hospital was complete by the afternoon.
The operating theatre is due to be used for the first time today.
The decision to have 20 beds in the hospital, rather than the 48 the old one had, proved controversial during the planning stage.
But health chiefs said more people would be treated at home.
They also said beds would be for Tewkesbury people and would not be taken up by Cheltenham and Gloucester patients, as often happened in the past.