Patients seeing benefits of £100m-plus investment at our hospitals

3 Mar 2022, 10:26 a.m.

Patients at Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals are benefiting from a £100m-plus cash injection just months after building work started.


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Two new departments, one on each site, have opened following extensive works to transform the way services are provided at each hospital. The works, which started last year, is the first part of a wider development which will see more than £100m being invested.

At Cheltenham £6.5m has been invested in modernising the Radiology Department with the purchase of new high tech equipment including three CT scanners, an MRI scanner, new treatment rooms and a reception area. These will ensure more accurate and faster diagnostic tests such as X-rays and MRI scans and will help patients accessing the town’s Emergency Department as well as those attending for surgical procedures.

A further £1m has been spent on a new CT scanner and a greatly enhanced patient waiting area at Cheltenham’s Oncology Centre. At Gloucestershire Royal, a newly purposed Medical Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) unit has been completed near to the hospital’s main entrance.

The development, completed by contractors Kier, will see £22m being invested in urgent and emergency care at GRH. The Medical SDEC unit will enable more patients to be seen and treated on the same day helping to avoid hospital admissions and avoiding the need for treatment at the Emergency Department (ED) altogether.

Since the unit opened last month (February 8) it has already treated around 880 patients who would otherwise have gone straight to the Emergency Department.

Cheltenham General Hospital – Day Surgery
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital: facing North East, towards the Tower Block
£100m-plus investment

Professor Mark Pietroni, Medical Director, said: “It only seems like yesterday that we welcomed contractors Kier onto our hospital sites to start the lion’s share of the building work last August. It’s hard to imagine that just six short months later Kier have handed us back one of those buildings.

More broadly this investment is about giving us an opportunity to provide the next generation of care at Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals in line with our vision for two centres of excellence.

At the heart of our ambition is the intention to establish ground-breaking specialist services across both our hospitals. At Cheltenham there will be a greater focus on planned care modelled on the outstanding service already provided by our cancer services and in particular The Oncology Department. At Gloucester we will establish specialist services with a greater focus on urgent and emergency care.

“The opportunities for our staff and patients in delivering this vision are considerable with many specialist services rivalling and exceeding those found only in university hospitals in big metropolitan cities.”

Dr Georgios Chatzakis, Consultant Radiologist & Specialty Director for Radiology, added: “On top of a high-quality redesign of the waiting areas to significantly improve patient experience as well as the way patients flow through the it, we have installed three new CT scanners, four new digital x-ray machines, two new US machines, a new MRI scanner and a new interventional suit.

This upgrade has ensured higher quality, accuracy and faster diagnosis of multiple clinical conditions. It has also meant that we’ve been able to increase the amount of Radiology work that we can do in support of the town’s Emergency Department, the countywide Stroke provision and those attending for surgical procedures.”

Dr Chris Custard, Acute Medical Consultant, added: “The biggest single benefit of Medical SDEC is that patients get straight to the most appropriate place to be treated by the most appropriate person, first time.

Medical SDEC provides an alternative service for patients that either attend ED or are referred from their GP. Instead of having beds, Medical SDEC has treatment spaces including five consultation rooms and two multi-space bays. This means more patients will be treated on the same day by specialist teams and avoid using the Emergency Department altogether.

In turn this will help improve the flow of patients through our hospitals which means better care and shorter stays. For our patients, particularly elderly patients, spending hours rather than days in hospital is much better for their long-term wellbeing. In turn, this means shorter waits for other patients who need to be admitted.”