Campaigners battling to get a minor injuries unit opened at Cossham Hospital will gather for another rally in Kingswood Park tomorrow. They will then march across the road to the Civic Centre where South Gloucestershire health chiefs are due to reveal more about their alternative plans for a minor injuries service in GP surgeries.
Reg Bennett, of the Re-formed Save Cossham Hospital Group, will tell the 9.30am rally that the Clinical Commissioning Group is going against the will of more than 18,000 people who have signed a petition calling for the minor injuries unit (MIU) to open as was agreed in 2009.
In November South Gloucestershire Council’s Public Health and Health Scrutiny Committee referred the CCG’s new proposals to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt after members unanimously said they would result in “inadequate provision for dealing with minor injuries”.
The health watchdogs asked the CCG to “reflect” on their concerns and to report back to the next scrutiny committee meeting – which is tomorrow.
The CCG has said that it would cost around £900k a year to fund the MIU at Cossham – where space has been allocated – and that if it did that, there would need to be cutbacks in other areas, which would not be in the clinical interests of South Gloucestershire’s 266,000 residents.
The CCG has stressed that it won’t make a final decision until the pilot scheme has been tested.
Among those due to speak in support of the campaign tomorrow are Jo McCarron, who is standing for Labour to be elected as Kingswood’s MP at May’s General Election, and Theo Clarke, who is standing for the Conservatives in Bristol East.
Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy and Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore are unable to attend tomorrow’s rally but will be sending statements in support of the campaigners.
Although Cossham serves predominantly patients from South Gloucestershire, the hospital is actually in Ms McCarthy’s constituency.