Cotswold DC Leader speaks out over Health Service

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Cotswold DC Leader speaks out over Health Service

Strong concerns about the future of health services in Gloucestershire have once again been voiced by Cotswold District Council.

Council Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe spoke out after Cabinet received an update on the planned NHS community health model for the District.

He said: "We remain extremely concerned for the future of our health services and the impact that cuts and changes will have on our rural communities.

"While we welcome the plans for more community mental health workers for the North Cotswolds, we are very worried about the closure of the Memorial Centre in Cirencester.

"Patients with mental health problems no longer have a 'drop-in' facility in the town and, to date, no alternative provision has been made which was promised in the public consultation."

Cllr Stowe said the Council was also still concerned at the overall loss of bed numbers in the community hospitals - especially when Cheltenham and Gloucester hospitals are at capacity as they have been recently.

He said: "The District has an ageing population with a projected increase of 53 per cent in the number of people aged over 85 between 2001 and 2011. A reduction in local community hospital beds will have a significant impact on the Cotswolds if the new community model of care doesn't come up to scratch.

"Day services for older people are suffering. The closure of the two Day Hospitals at Bourton and Moreton is putting pressure on voluntary day centres to find extra capacity, but we fully acknowledge the efforts being made by local Leagues of Friends to support alternative local centres."

The Council will be closely monitoring the effectiveness of the new community health model, where more patients will be treated at home.

Cllr Stowe added: "Transport remains key to the success of the new model of healthcare. Most of the changes will increase travelling, which is bad news for our rural area, which covers 450 square miles. Whatever happened to quality local services and sustainable communities?"

"We will continue to call on the Government to give us fair funding for Gloucestershire, where spending on health services is 12 per cent lower per head than the national average."

Posted : 09/03/2007 12:54:39

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