I AM sure many of the readers are aware of the proposed closure of Lydney and Dilke hospitals in the Forest of Dean, to be replaced by one unit with half the number of beds (this as a minimum but no Gloucestershire NHS Trust has ever graced us with more than the minimum beds offered).

We may think in Stroud that this has little to do with us but we should remember that all community hospitals are there to serve the county, not simply the town they are in.

In an interview on BBC Radio Gloucestershire, The MP for the FoD, Mark Harper, justified the decrease in beds by pointing out the number of non-Forest residents in Forest hospital beds.

He handily neglected to mention the number of Forest residents in other community hospitals’ beds.

While we would like to be provided with a bed close to home, when we need care within a controlled healthcare environment, this is not always possible, so it is important to realise that a cut to any beds in the county will be of detriment to everyone across the whole of the county.

When faced with public criticism over the report that the hospitals are not fit for purpose, the MP’s other justification was that the theatre needs further updating to be able to undertake procedures not currently undertaken there.

He then went on to cite endoscopy as an example of that which the public apparently are not prepared to travel for.

This hardly justifies a reduction in beds.

Britain already has less beds per head of population than most other European countries.

Hannah Basson