Di Martin, the Labour Candidate for the Forest of Dean at the next General Election, has made her feelings known about local hospital provision. “I firmly believe that The Forest needs two NHS Community Hospitals.”

Despite a consultation with the public in 2017 in which the NHS’ Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) found that a majority of people did not want The Dilke or Lydney Hospitals to close, they controversially went ahead with the plan to close anyway. They promised one new facility to replace the two hospitals but it emerged that this new hospital would have 24 beds instead of the 47 currently offered in Cinderford and Lydney. Health bosses claim that 24 beds would be a “robust number to support the locality.”

At a recent Forest of Dean Executive Commitee Meeting Di Martin came out fighting “I have considered the situation and after exhaustive consideration and debate of evidence from GPs, health professionals and planning predictions for Severnside, I now firmly believe that the Forest needs two NHS community hospitals. The CCG’s arguments about bed reductions simply don’t stand up! Whilst welcoming a new facility in Cinderford I will fight to keep the Dilke in community use providing end of life care for those who need it. The position of a provision for Lydney remains unanswered. Whether by Refurbishment or New Build I will fight for a second modern NHS hospital facility for Severnside.”

Mark Harper’s position stated on his website is “I have always supported delivering as many healthcare services as possible locally within the Forest of Dean” although what he considers “possible” is clearly at odds with Ms Martin. Foresters will now have a clear opportunity to decide how many hospitals they would like at the ballot box.

Chair of the Forest Labour Party, Bernie O’Neill said “Di had the unanimous support of the executive and we all thoroughly endorse her statement, and we are immensely proud of her. She is the only candidate capable of wresting the seat from Mark Harper.”

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