Campaigners fighting for the promised minor injuries unit at Cossham have been out and about in east Bristol in the last few days and now have more than 4000 signatures. At the same time, Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore has raised the issue once again in a parliamentary debate. During a back bench business session in the Commons last night (22nd July) he told MPs of the history and significance of Cossham, as well as its special links with Westminster. “The land was gifted by Kingswood MP Handel Cossham who actually died in the House of Commons Library” he told MPs. “He was a collier who owned a lot of land, and he decided to gift this land to set up a hospital. 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.” He echoed the concerns of several east Bristol residents that with the downgrading of Frenchay, the new facilities at Southmead are seen as too far away or difficult to access for many.
The Save Cossham Hospital Group, which was instrumental in reversing the original closure decision in 2004 and has been coordinating the move for the MIU, is holding a protest meeting on Saturday (26th July) at Warmley Community Centre (2 pm).
Mr Skidmore urged the South Gloucestershire Clinical Commission Group to heed local opinion and stick with the original plan to open a minor injuries unit. He also said he had collected 1000 signatures to add to the group’s total. “I call on South Gloucestershire CCG to think again and to listen to the voices of local people, particularly the Save Cossham Hospital group, which is now ably run by Reg Bennett. Reg has skilfully taken the politics out of the issue so that we have Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and the UK Independence party members lined up and agreeing that we need a minor injuries unit at Cossham hospital.”
The strength of opposition to the idea of reneging on the MIU plan is indeed cross-party and Jo McCarron, the Labour Party candidate for Kingswood in next year’s election has also been busy on the campaign trail. She has also collected a significant number of signatures and is urging people to attend Saturday’s meeting.
She told us: “I understand how let down and frustrated people feel about the uncertainty still hanging over the Minor Injuries Unit. I’ve been working closely with the Save Cossham group to make sure residents have their say. “We’ve collected thousands of signatures, but we need to continue building pressure, especially now that Frenchay A&E has closed. I’ll be at the meeting on Saturday and urge as many people as possible to come along to show the strength of feeling.”