'Citizens' jury' helps choose new Gloucestershire community hospital location

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Dilke Hospital
Image caption,
The Dilke Memorial Hospital is due to close, along with Lydney and District Hospital

The location of a new community hospital has been chosen with the help of a "citizens' jury".

The NHS in Gloucestershire wants to close Lydney and Dilke hospitals, which it says is no longer fit for purpose, and build a new £11m facility.

Cinderford was recommended as the people's choice over two other towns - Coleford and Lydney.

A business case will now be drawn up and a site chosen before a planning application in submitted.

The boards of Gloucestershire Care Services and the Clinical Commissioning Group decided to accept the jury's recommendation, as Cinderford is a central location.

The two NHS bodies also agreed further work should be done to improve transport links, which are a major concern for campaigners who say the layout of the Forest of Dean means two hospitals are needed.

Citizens' juries were first used in the 1980s to debate public policy but "tend to go through bursts of popularity" according to Dr Malcolm Oswald, director of Citizens Juries Community Interest Company,

Although they weigh up the options their decision is not necessarily binding.

It is thought to be the first time the location of a hospital has been chosen this way.

Image caption,
Protests had been previously held outside Shire Hall in Gloucester over the future of both Lydney and Dilke Hospitals

In a public consultation in 2017 the plan to close Dilke Memorial Hospital, near Cinderford, and Lydney and District Hospital was rejected by 46% of respondents, compared to 43% who supported it.

However, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust voted in January to go ahead with its preferred option to replace the two sites with the new hospital.

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