More than 200 local residents visited Ross-on-Wye Community Hospital on Monday, January 23rd to attend an event which they thought would enable them to demonstrate their support for the health services they have in Ross, especially the hospital, as part of the process of defining the sustainability and transformation plan (STP).

Despite being described as a Community Roadshow, which would be a chance for local residents to ‘Come and discuss our emerging thoughts for how local services may look in the future,’ this was not what many of the 200, or more, people who visited Ross Community Hospital on Monday, January 23rd thought was what was on offer.

Many of the local residents who attended the event had received emails or posters encouraging them to attend to stop further cuts to the community hospital.

Some visitors were surprised at the lack of representatives from heath services and information about the draft sustainability and transformation plan (STP). In fact, Mr Paul Deneen, OBE JP DL, Chair of Healthwatch Herefordshire was the only representative of those contributing to the STP at the event.

He had volunteered to attend to discuss primary care services in Ross. He had a survey for patients to complete, detailing the primary care services that they use locally and what they would like to see in the area.

Several local Councillors also attended the hospital roadshow. Among them was County Councillor Phil Cutter. Cllr Cutter told the Gazette that he thought that there needs to be a public meeting to make people aware of the proposals that the hospital is faced with.

While he understood that some people fear that the hospital could face closure, he did not think that this was necessarily the case, but he said there is a lot of uncertainty about what actually is in store for Ross-on-Wye Community Hospital.

“I do have huge concerns. I want to know what is going to happen,” he told the Gazette.

Paul Deneen OBE JP DL told the Gazette that the views of local residents who completed a survey would be fed back to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which organise the delivery of NHS services locally.

Mr Deneen said the questionnaire was a specific consultation about what primary care Ross residents were receiving and what they would like to see more of.

Mr Deneen told the Gazette: “The Mayor, Councillor David Ravenscroft, County Councillor Phil Cutter and I believe that in relation to the two future public consultation events, that these should be held at the Larruperz Centre, in the evening and be open to the public. I said that I was happy to pass on this request on to those organising these two future public consultation events and will do so at the earliest opportunity.”To read the full story, see this week's edition of the Ross Gazette.