September 27, 2008

Battledown – Review Needed

In 2005, there was a massive campaign about the closure of the children's ward in Cheltenham General Hospital.

I supported the parents campaign to keep the Battledown Ward - in opposition to the NHS trusts which were in turmoil with the changes at local, regional and national level and with new entities like the strategic health authority, Health Care Commission etc.

My interest was in the governance and administration, never forgetting the children.

So now, in 2008, the outcome is that we have kept the ward but lost the overnight facility.

This is a question to all interested parties, people and organisations - has it worked? Have children suffered or benefited from the outcome? Patients are represented by PPI and PALS. What is their assessment of the outcome?

The wonderful parents, led by Julie Coles and Carol Jones were fighting for all children, what do they think

Martin Harwood MP campaigned with the Conservative Dr Vanessa Gearson to keep the Battledown Ward open, what do they think?

The parents fielded a candidate in the General Election, what are their views?

We went to countless meetings. It is important to reflect on the past in order to learn for the future.

It's difficult to measure clinical outcomes, whether in quantity or quality.

But I am told that in 2005 Gloucestershire Royal Hospital had 66 children's beds and Cheltenham General Hospital had 26, making 92. Today Gloucestershire Royal Hospital has 44 with an unknown figure for Cheltenham General Hospital.

My intention is not to open old wounds but to follow up the campaign and its outcome with a review.

Chris Meehan via email

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