Investigation into Frenchay healthcare provision launched

Frenchay Hospital Closure

At the meeting of the Health Scrutiny committee of South Gloucestershire Council on Nov 23rd Cllr Andrea Reid, (Labour, Kingswood), and Cllr Ruth Davis, (Liberal Democrat, Yate Central), successfully proposed that a group of councillors be set up to investigate the provision of Community Hospitals and Minor Injuries Units across South Gloucestershire, including at the former hospital site in Frenchay.

Cllr Reid said:

“20 years ago the Bristol Health Services Plan (BHSP) established that South Gloucestershire needed Community Hospitals and Minor Injuries Units (MIU) in Thornbury, Yate, Frenchay and Cossham. Following the change of government in 2010 only Yate MIU was built, Frenchay Hospital was closed and the roll out of the BHSP was cancelled."

Cllr Davis stated:

“Residents are saying they’re having problems accessing services. The lack of other sites leaves us with just one Minor Injuries Unit. Residents phone up and are told to go to Yate – when they get there Yate is oversubscribed, with a sign saying sorry we can’t take any more patients. Then they have to travel on again to either Southmead or even Bath! For many people travelling to Yate is virtually impossible unless you have a car. This situation has got to change.

“Bristol had a Health Services plan drawn up 20 years ago – of centralised acute services and community hospitals in places such as Thornbury, Frenchay and Cossham. This well drawn up plan was abandoned with no good explanation of how the identified need for hospital services would be met. With the growth of Bristol and the surrounding areas it’s time for the region to have another review of our health service provision – caring for the needs of all its residents and bearing in mind the significant travel issues faced by many.”

It will be interesting to see what emerges from this investigation. A related proposal for the Frenchay site is to use it as a rehabilitiation centre. The current crisis in Accident & Emergency capacity and related delays in Ambulance services is widely acknowledged to be due to “bed blocking” caused by insufficent capacity in the Social Care sector. Increased rehabilitation provision has the potential to mitigate this. It might also exploit synergies with the existing Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit on the site.

Stephen Bingham, frenchay•news

Note: The quotes used in this item were obtained from a South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrat Press Release.

Image credit: Graham West

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