Hospital protesters are on the march

September 01 2014

CAMPAIGNERS for a minor injuries unit at Cossham Hospital are set to stage a protest march this month.

CAMPAIGNERS for a minor injuries unit at Cossham Hospital are set to stage a protest march this month.

They say the promised service is needed more than ever now that Frenchay Hospital is shut, with emergency services and many acute hospital services concentrated at the new Southmead.

Save Cossham Hospital Group has been out and about collecting signatures in Downend, Staple Hill and Kingswood, on a petition to the NHS South Gloucestershire Clinicial Commissioning Group (CCG), which will make the final decision.

After the protest demo in Kingswood Park at 9.30am on September 17, the group will present the petition of more than 4,000 names to the CCG at a Health scrutiny commission meeting across the road in the Civic Centre later that day.

The campaigners, led by Reg Bennett, 80, who was among those who fought to save the hospital a decade ago, has cross-party support from Kingswood’s Conservative MP Chris Skidmore, Jo McCarron, who will contest the area for Labour next May, and the Lib Dems and Ukip.

Mr Skidmore spoke about the hospital, which was gifted to the area in 1907 and reopened last year after a £19 million revamp, in a parliamentary debate.

He said: “When people talk about Cossham Hospital, they are talking about not just a superb NHS facility but a hospital that belongs to the people of Kingswood.”

Ms McCarron told a public meeting on July 27 at Warmley Community Centre, attended by 200 people, that the CCG had not kept its promise to retain a community hospital at Frenchay and many suspected they would not honour the pledge on a minor injuries unit (MIU) at Cossham.

The CCG is awaiting guidance following a national review of urgent and emergency care services before making a decision in the autumn.

Its aim is to get the best possible combination of services to meet the health needs of the whole population, and says the provision must be sustainable. Officials have promised that there will further opportunities for local people to have their say.

Cossham Hospital provides outpatient clinics, diagnostic tests, renal dialysis, physiotherapy treatments and a midwife-led birth centre.

It now has a rapid access outpatient clinic, aimed at older people. This enables GPs to refer patients straight to a specialist geriatric consultant at short notice, helping them avoid having to go to A&E at Southmead or the Bristol Royal Infirmary. Cossham is also the base for the GP out-of-hours service.