The Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham met with some of the Save Cossham Hospital Group campaigners in Kingswood today to hear about their on-going battle to secure their promised Minor Injuries Unit.
Also at the meeting at the Park Centre was Jo McCarron, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Kingswood, Ben Bennett, programme director at South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which will be making the decision about whether Cossham will still get the unit, and the clinical chairman of the CCG Dr Jonathan Hayes, who is a GP at Hanham Health.
After the meeting Mr Burnham and Jo McCarron were taken on a private tour of the hospital with Ben Bennett.
Cossham opened in early 2013 after a £19m refurbishment which includes a renal dialysis unit, X-ray and scanning department, physio and outpatient appointments and a midwife-led birth centre. It was kept open following a long fight which had cross-party support.
But as part of the Bristol Health Services Plan, and confirmed by the hospital’s business plan in 2009, the local community was promised a minor injuries unit too. More than a year after Cossham reopened, that has not yet happened.
The CCG is currently consulting widely on the best way to provide urgent care services for patients in South Gloucestershire and has cited evidence which shows that minor injuries services do not necessarily result in a proportionate reduction in attendances at A&E departments.
Mr Burnham told the meeting that he felt that when commitments were made, it was “important to see them through”.
He added: “It’s great to see people’s passion and the strength of feeling over ownership of the hospital.”
Meanwhile leading Cossham campaigner Reg Bennett, who was at today’s meeting, has also visited the hospital this week with other members of the action group “to thank the dedicated NHS nurses in person”.
He pledged: ”We will fight for our right to have the minor injuries unit installed here, in this our hospital, promised and agreed in the final business case 2009.”
The CCG will be holding an “engagement event” at Cleve Rugby Club in Mangotsfield on the afternoon of 29th April.