22 Jan 2020, 2:21 p.m.

An independent Citizens’ Jury will meet for the first time on 20 January in Brockworth to begin its work and look at how specialist hospital services in Gloucestershire could develop in the future.

The 18 strong Jury will sit for five days in public with participants reflecting the county’s diverse population.

Jury members will consider feedback from the Fit for the Future public and staff engagement, together with evidence on the need for change across Gloucestershire’s two main hospital sites, Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal.

They will hear from NHS staff working in the services, from public and patient representatives and from a variety of other speakers on relevant topics.

They will consider, and be asked for their views on, a vision for a centres of excellence approach to providing hospital services.

This approach reflects the way a number of services are already delivered across the Trust such as stroke, children’s services and trauma and orthopaedics, which is serving patients well.

They will also make recommendations on their priorities for development of three specialist hospital services: general surgery, image guided surgery, and emergency and acute medicine.

The Jury will hear about how these services are currently organised, the case for change and the emerging ideas for development of each.

Health leaders have reiterated that Cheltenham A&E will remain open into the future.

Director of Citizens Juries CIC, Dr Malcolm Oswald said: “The independent Jury will consider staff and public feedback including survey findings, outputs from events, service workshops and the engagement hearing.

"They will also hear evidence from expert witnesses on development of, and access to, services and best clinical practice.

"After careful assessment of this information, Jurors will make recommendations about their priorities for the three specialist services and give their views on the centres of excellence approach.

"This will form part of a Jurors’ Report which will be published days after the Jury ends.”

Medical Director at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Mark Pietroni said: “We welcome the role of the independent Citizens’ Jury as an important part of the engagement process and Jury members will also offer useful insight into the design of future public engagement and consultation plans.”

Following the Jury, potential solutions for change will be narrowed down during an appraisal exercise in public in February and will then undergo further review.

Any significant options that follow on from the engagement period will be subject to full public consultation as required later in the year.