Health chiefs accused of ‘stonewalling’ over Cossham Hospital minor injury unit

Health chiefs have come under fire for “ignoring” residents’ concerns about the lack of minor injury care at Cossham Hospital in Kingswood.

South Gloucestershire Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee heard this week  that no one from the health board had responded to the concerns raised at the previous meeting by Kingswood councillor Andrea Reid.

Cllr Sarah Pomfret, who chairs the committee, said: “I am not aware of any reply as yet.”

In Issue 734 we reported that Cllr Reid had slammed the NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for their “appalling” decision not to open the long-promised minor injury unit (MIU) at Cossham without conducting a health inequalities study, despite the fact  that Kingwood has a lower life expectancy than both the South Gloucestershire and England averages and various other health-related issues. No one from the CCG had attended the June meeting.

The CCG had refused to reconsider providing an MIU despite a petition with more than 5,000 signatures – more than 2,000 of them Week In readers. Instead the CCG said that an MIU at Cossham was not part of their urgent care strategy and highlighted the recruitment difficulties that staffing an MIU at Cossham would entail.

Cllr Andrea Reid

When Cossham reopened nine years ago after a £19m refurbishment, the promised MIU was not included. A subsequent fight to secure it, supported by thousands of local residents, failed. Instead in 2016 a two-year trial in which minor injuries were treated in GP surgeries in South Gloucestershire was launched. But it failed to reduce attendances at A&E so instead the CCG made significant investment into the Yate unit.

However, people are still facing problems accessing healthcare for minor injuries in the east Bristol area so the campaign was resurrected.

On 1st July the CCG was dissolved. The new body is now known as  the NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board (ICB).

After last week’s meeting Cllr Reid said: “l was disappointed that no response was received to concerns raised by the Health Scrutiny Committee. I feel that residents’ concerns were ignored and stonewalled.

“Whilst the CCG may have ceased to exist in July, l do not believe this conversation is over. So l will continue to push for this discussion to take place with the ICB.”