RESIDENTS of the south Forest are being asked which local services are most important to them and how they will access them once Lydney Hospital closes.

The Forest Health Forum (FHF) is carrying out a district-wide survey to gauge what needs to be done to ensure everyone can access the care they need once The Dilke and Lydney are replaced by new Forest of Dean Hospital in Cinderford next year.

Forum chair Albert Weager says the committee is concerned about residents on the other side of the district, such as those in Beachley, being able to access services 20 miles away in Cinderford.

Albert explained: “With a range of services set to be relocated away from the area in 2024, we’re asking people in the south Forest which are the most important to them, so that we can understand future healthcare needs.”

The forum is asking residents in the GL15 and NP16 areas which services are the most important to them; how far they are willing to travel for those services; how they will travel to their point of care; and if they feel any other services would benefit the community.

The survey is a joint effort between the FHF and the Forest Voluntary Action Forum, who have helped with the design and will assist with collation.

Albert also gave a special mention to staff at Wyedean School, who have helped create an electronic version on the survey.

Forest Health Forum is a committee of local people that has been running for more than 30 years.

Made up of community members who have an interest in Health and Social Care matters, its aim is to raise awareness of issues within the Forest “in order to influence and effect positive change”.

The forum holds regular meetings, mostly online since the start of the pandemic, to which health representatives are invited to speak and answer “awkward questions” posed by the committee.

Its chair Albert Weager has nearly 20 years experience as a representative of the ambulance service in Gloucestershire.

The survey is being circulated in local schools, healthcare centres and to town and parish councils to give out to the community.

Once it is complete, a findings based report will be published and presented to the NHS and Gloucestershire County Council Leaderships.