Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne was at the Kings Chase Shopping Centre in Kingswood today, joining local Labour Party members, Parliamentary candidate Jo McCarron and the Save Cossham Group to campaign on the issue of the hospital’s long overdue minor injuries unit.
Last week it emerged that the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt will not make a decision on whether to overturn plans to scrap the minor injuries unit (MIU) because of guidance from the Cabinet Office that it would be inappropriate for a decision to be made during the pre-election period.
However, Labour says Mr Hunt could have decided to tell South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to proceed with the MIU as he would only have to postpone his decision if there was disagreement with Opposition parties – but there was in fact clear cross-party support for the campaign.
The Health Secretary was contacted by local health watchdogs over the CCG’s alternative proposal to trial a minor injuries service in GP practices which they fear would result in “inadequate provision”.
The CCG has halted its trial plans until there is a ministerial decision, based on advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, meaning people living in Kingswood and district must continue travelling to Southmead, into Bristol city centre or over to Yate to access a minor injuries service.