They said it was a consultation not a referendum… | Zac Arnold to iNews

The full edited interview after Zac spoke to Paul Gallagher for iNews read as follows:

“We’ve had two consultations from the CCG and Gloucestershire care services – the first on whether we wanted to close the two hospitals and have a new single, smaller one: 46 per cent said no, 43 per cent said yes. They ignored that result and pushed ahead anyway. They said it was a consultation not a referendum…

“The second was on location – a ‘citizen’s jury’ recommended Cinderford, a town which has got a hospital. The final decision will be made on 30 August. We’ve got a rapidly increasing and ageing population here. Bed occupancy is 95 per cent – higher than is safe – all the time. They haven’t confirmed the amount of new beds yet but in the consultation it said a minimum of 24 – half the number we currently have at each of the two hospitals.

“So we could be going down from nearly 100 to 24 in the coming months. And it’s going to take so many people longer than 30 minutes to get there, which goes against one of the key points of their own criteria – that everyone had to be able to get to the new hospital within half an hour.

“If it goes ahead, they’re hoping to have the new hospital open by 2021-22. The campaign is in the middle of legal action now, taking the decision to judicial review. The officials have responded saying they haven’t formally made the decision to ‘close’ the hospitals, they’ve only made the decision to ‘replace’ them. So we have to wait for them to say the word ‘close’ before we can carry on with the case.”

You can read the feature also on the iNews website here.

Please note the author made a factual error in reporting what I had said regarding the number of beds at the hospitals.

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