16,000 back campaign for minor injuries unit

Published on: 05 Oct 2014

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TWO hundred campaigners packed into Kingswood Civic Centre to back their call for a minor injuries unit at Cossham Hospital.

They cheered as 80-year-old Reg Bennett handed over petitions containing more than 16,000 signatures in support of the promised facility.

Mr Bennett said: “I don’t believe the CCG [South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group] has the moral right to deny us this desperately needed minor injuries unit now Frenchay [Hospital] has closed and Southmead [Hospital] can’t cope.”

He was speaking at a meeting of South Gloucestershire Council’s health scrutiny committee, attended by CCG officials. Committee chairman councillor Ian Scott said an updated report on plans for the minor injuries unit (MIU) would be brought to the next meeting in November.

Mr Bennett said the unit was 21 months overdue, following the reopening of Cossham in January 2013 after a £19 million refurbishment.

Politicians said the needs of the community were more important than political differences. Labour’s Jo McCarron, who led a collection of 14,000 signatures, welcomed an additional 2,000 gathered by the Tory MP Chris Skidmore, while Mr Skidmore thanked Ms McCarron for her efforts. He also pointed out that the hospital was founded by a Liberal, Handel Cossham.

Mr Skidmore said the MIU would be the “jewel in the crown” of the reopened Cossham. He said the closure of Frenchay Hospital was a scandal that was putting the healthcare of people in east Bristol at risk.

Ben Bennett, of the CCG said he understood the frustrations of the campaigners that the CCG had not yet made a decision about future urgent care at Cossham, but it was important to ensure the right services were provided.

Before the meeting, the campaigners gathered for a rally in Kingswood Park. Ms McCarron said the frustration and discontent on the issue was overwhelming, with people queueing up to sign the petition. “People are fed up with broken promises,” she said.

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