To consider outputs from the Forest of Dean Community Hospital consultation (information to follow).
The committee received an update from the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group on the NHS Gloucestershire Integrated Health and Care System (ICS) Consultation regarding the delivery of services proposed for the new community hospital in the Forest of Dean District. The consultation commenced on 22 October 2020, ending on 17 December 2020.
Analysis of the responses to the consultation can be viewed in an Output of Consultation Report, published on the NHS website on 11 January 2021. The report can be viewed here
Based on the responses from previous stages of the consultation, it was confirmed that the new hospital would be located in Cinderford, replacing the Dilke Memorial Hospital and Lydney and District Community Hospital.
Members were reminded that the purpose of this consultation had been to seek feedback on the following aspects: -
i. Number of hospital beds required to meet the needs of the local population;
ii. Outpatient services, including consultation, treatment and group rooms and additional areas for online consultations for the provision of outpatients services;
iii. Urgent care facility;
iv. Diagnostic services, including x-ray, ultrasound and blood-testing (phlebotomy); purpose-built endoscopy unit and space for mobile units, such as Chemotherapy Bus and Breast Screening Service;
v. Parking for approximately 150 vehicles; agreement on the location of a bus stop, (on or adjacent to the site);
vi. Flexible meeting space for access by health and care organisations plus wider voluntary sector organisations
Thanking everyone who had participated in the survey, Caroline Smith from the CCG informed the committee that there had been a good response to the consultation. From first analysis, there appeared to be a range of mixed views, particularly in respect of the proposals relating to inpatient care and urgent care for the South of the Forest. The consultation had followed a different timescale to the Fit for the Future Consultation, with no further plans for a Citizens Jury. (A Citizens Jury had been used during an earlier stage in the consultation process).
It was confirmed that a ‘consultation review period’ would now take place. If supported by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body at its meeting on 28 January 2021, the proposals would be included in a service specification, for which the Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust would be required to produce a formal business case, setting out the design specification and financial plan for the new building, along with the arrangements for the operation of the new hospital going forward. Final approval of the proposals would be required from the Board of the Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust in March 2021.
Responding to concerns about the replacement of the existing hospitals and the perceived loss of facilities in certain parts of the Forest, members were advised that the inadequacy of the ageing buildings and the need for modern, fit for purpose, facilities had been accentuated during the Covid-19 pandemic emergency. Noting the concerns, including concerns raised by members of the public, the committee was advised that, all considerations would be considered in balance with recent learning and the need to provide improved facilities.
Referencing several questions submitted direct to the NHS CCG earlier that day, (from a member of the public), it was agreed that the CCG would provide written responses to the questions, (plus any other questions), after the meeting. Committee members were advised to submit further questions, (having considered the Interim Output of Consultation Report in more detail), to email@example.com after the meeting. Action by – GCCG
Responding to a suggestion that a workshop be set up to consider ongoing concerns about the provision of services to residents located in the South of the Forest, the CCG explained that there was no time to delay the progress of the work currently underway. Furthermore, it was essential, (in order to meet the challenges of responding to the Covid-19 pandemic), to maintain the momentum. People living in the South of the Forest were assured that their concerns would be considered during the forthcoming review of responses submitted during the recent consultation.
Seeking the support of the committee, the Chairman, (along with the majority of members), noted the report and requested further updates before any final decisions were made regarding the South of the Forest.
To note: Having since reviewed the feedback from the consultation and after careful consideration of developments in local healthcare and health needs for the area, the GCCG has now confirmed the range of services to be commissioned at the new Forest of Dean Community Hospital. In a formal announcement made at the end of January 2021, it was confirmed that that hospital would be run by the Gloucestershire Heath and Care NHS Foundation Trust, with services primarily provided by GHC staff, by healthcare professionals from the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and by local GPs. The new hospital is anticipated to open in 2023.