The community hospital in Lodge Road underwent a £19m refurbishment and reopened a year ago, providing the area’s only stand-alone midwife-led birth centre, as well as a renal dialysis unit, X-ray and scanning department, physiotherapy and outpatient appointments.
Now the NHS in South Gloucestershire is thinking about using the accommodation set aside for the minor injuries unit as the base for a rapid assessment service for frail, elderly patients from May. They say Cossham is ideally suited given the health needs of the local population.
A report about Cossham’s future is going to South Gloucestershire Council’s Public Health and Health Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday morning and campaigners who fought to save the hospital are urging people from the district to turn up at the meeting at Kingswood Civic Centre and show the local strength of feeling about the need for a minor injuries unit.
They say that with Frenchay’s A&E department closing in May, people will face a trek into BRI or Southmead Hospital, or to the Minor Injuries Unit at Yate.
Health chiefs say that experience nationally and locally has been that minor injuries services do not necessarily result in a proportionate reduction in attendances at hospital Emergency Departments.
A recent analysis of the Yate Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) showed attendances from the Yate area at local Emergency Departments had not reduced following the opening of the service there. The analysis also confirmed that a proportion of MIU attendances were for minor illnesses which could have been managed in primary care.
The report says: “The implication from this is that a minor injuries service at Cossham Hospital may not result in a reduction in activity at hospital Emergency Departments and may lead to duplication of primary care services.”
Minor Injuries Units treat cases such as arm, lower leg and foot injuries, including broken bones, minor head injuries, minor burns and scalds, cuts, sprains and strains and bites,
They do not treat more serious cases, such as chest pain, respiratory problems and abdominal pain, nor do they treat minor illnesses such as a sore throat or temperature when people should be contacting their GP.