Cheltenham A&E will temporarily close from 8am on Tuesday 19 December to 8am on Saturday 23 December. No Minor Injury and Illness Unit (MIIU) service will be provided there either.

Cheltenham A&E will switch to an MIIU service only from 8am to 8pm on Saturday 23 December to (and including) Monday 1 January 2024. It will be closed overnight.

Cheltenham A&E and MIIU will then close at 8pm on Monday 1 January until 8am on Tuesday 9 January.

Emergency care services (A&E) will be centralised at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital 24/7 throughout this period.

The public are strongly advised to only attend A&E at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital if their condition is serious or life-threatening. Please use other services such as in the first instance or call NHS 111.

GP practices and other Community Minor Injury and Illness Units across the county will continue to provide services.

The local NHS has today warned that the latest round of strikes scheduled for December (3 days) and early January (6 days) will pose substantial challenges to hospital services at the busiest time of the year and the impact will be felt well into the New Year.

After careful consideration, health leaders have set out the temporary service arrangements that will be put in place for the coming weeks.

The NHS in Gloucestershire say that the highest priorities are to minimise disruption as far as possible, care for those in most immediate and urgent need and safeguard patient care.

The headline advice for the public over the next three weeks is to only attend A&E in Gloucester if their condition is life threatening or very serious.

The temporary changes will again help NHS services to prepare for industrial action and enable available emergency care staff to come together at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital to keep services safe.

Whilst the NHS locally is making plans to keep essential services available, leaders have warned that the strike will cause unavoidable disruption.

Patients who have a planned hospital operation, outpatient clinic or procedure between Wednesday 20 December and Saturday 23 December 2023 and between Wednesday 3 January and Tuesday 9 January 2024 should attend as usual unless they hear from their NHS Trust to advise otherwise.

However, given the need to ensure safe staffing arrangements in emergency care and other critical services many appointments will need to be rearranged.

There will be no disruption to patient visiting arrangements on these days. However, the local NHS Trusts are asking relatives and carers to do everything they can to work with their staff to get their loved ones home from hospital as quickly and as safely as possible, with additional support, if necessary, from local NHS community services or adult social care teams.

Chief Medical Officer at NHS Gloucestershire, Dr Ananthakrishnan Raghuram (Raghu) MBE said:

“The latest round of strikes at the busiest time of the year will bring substantial challenges to the local NHS, particularly hospital services, and we are sorry that many patients will experience disruption to services.

This is a very challenging environment and decisions on temporary service change have not been taken lightly. One Gloucestershire health and care partners are working closely together to ensure those in greatest need continue to have access to high quality care and support.

We cannot emphasise enough how important it will be to keep A&E at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital clear for life threatening conditions and serious injuries.

The public can help by thinking carefully about their healthcare options and getting advice when needed from NHS 111. Advice will also be available daily through local NHS social media channels.”

Getting healthcare advice

Many parts of the NHS – hospitals, community services and GP practices – are likely to feel the impact of the industrial action – either directly or indirectly – so local people are being urged to use services responsibly.

If people have an urgent care need, but are not sure which service to use, they are asked to visit in the first instance or call 111 for advice. The 111 phone service can book people into local NHS services if required, but is likely to see an increase in calls.

111 online and the local ASAP Glos NHS website and app can provide information on the services provided by Community Pharmacies, GP surgeries, including the Gloucester Health Access Centre, Community Minor Injury and Illness Units and A&E.

A number of Community Hospital Minor Injury and Illness Units across the county will be open daily – 8am to 8pm (see walk in details for Cheltenham General Hospital above). Local people can check on the best community hospital Unit to meet their needs and book an appointment by calling the local MIIU line: 0300 421 7777 or 111.

On the day service updates and advice on the industrial action will be available through local NHS social media channels and websites. Further public information about the industrial action, including FAQs, has been published by NHS England and can be found here.