Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals have been stood down from their heightened internal escalation status today (14.1.15) but patients are being advised to access A&E only in an emergency.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (GCCG) and Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust (GCS) have de-escalated the status although pressure remains on services.

The heightened level of alert was declared on Sunday January 4 as a result of:

  • High levels of demand after the festive break
  • An increased number of frail and elderly patients being admitted
  • Availability of beds.

Dr Sean Elyan, Medical Director, said: “While the hospitals have been stood down and its status level reduced, they are still  under significant pressure and this is likely to continue during the winter weeks ahead. Therefore we would advise the public to access A&E only if they have life threatening or serious injuries.

“Throughout this extremely challenging period we’ve continued to provide treatment to those patients who really needed acute, emergency or critical care.

“Ensuring that level of care was provided could only have been made possible through the commitment and dedication of our staff here at the hospitals and also from our partners across health and social care. Their response in extremely challenging circumstances has been really exceptional.

“Finally, I do want to apologise to patients who have had their planned surgery postponed. That’s not a decision we take lightly and it is a last resort.  We would like to reassure those patients that we will be doing everything that we possibly can to rearrange their appointments as soon as possible either with us or an alternative provider.”

Clinical Chair of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Helen Miller said: “This has, and continues to be, a very challenging time as the NHS experiences unprecedented demand for services. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to healthcare professionals in local hospitals, GP surgeries and in the community for their dedication and commitment to patient care.

“As a CCG, our focus remains on developing alternatives to hospital admission where appropriate, ensuring safe, quality hospital care when needed and ensuring patients can leave hospital as soon as possible with the right support in place.

“It is really important to remember that hospital Emergency Departments are designed to treat serious injuries and life threatening conditions and the public can continue to help by thinking carefully about their healthcare options.”

Paul Jennings, Chief Executive at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, said: “Throughout this period of pressure our staff have been working immensely hard in our community hospitals and community teams, which has provided a great deal of support for the acute trust.

“This work remains vital to the health and wellbeing of the people of Gloucestershire and we will be working with the acute trust, and our commissioners, to ensure that the county has services which offer people the best possible health and social care in the most appropriate setting for their needs.”

Health service options for the public:

  • The local pharmacy is a great first port of call for minor ailments. Pharmacists are qualified to give advice on a range of conditions, are experts on medicines and can advise people on whether they need to call or visit another NHS service. People can find out which local pharmacists are open out of hours at NHS Choices,
  • If people are unsure about what health services to access, they can also call NHS 111.
  • The Health Access Centres in Eastgate Street, Gloucester and in the Hesters Way Community Resource Centre, Cassin Drive, Cheltenham can see patients with illnesses such as chronic pain, stomach upsets, everyday infections and blocked ears. The Centres have extended opening hours and offer a same-day service, however patients are encouraged to ring in advance (GHAC – 01452 336290) or (CHAC – 01242 548298/548299) to get an appointment time convenient to them.
  • If a patient has a ‘flare up’ of a long standing illness such as kidney or lung disease, bronchitis, asthma or diabetes that is not responding to self-care or advice from their pharmacist, a call to their GP surgery is the best course of action to take.
  • Community Hospital Minor Injury Units across Gloucestershire also treat a variety of injuries and illnesses such as sprains, cuts and wounds, minor fractures and minor head injuries. Compare live waiting times at
  • Don’t access hospitals or health settings if you have Norovirus. Find out more about Norovirus: Combat Norovirus’.