Caution from campaigners over hospital plan for Frenchay

November 29 2015

CAMPAIGNERS have given a cautious welcome to an apparent change of heart over a community hospital at Frenchay.

hospital sign

CAMPAIGNERS have given a cautious welcome to an apparent change of heart over a community hospital at Frenchay.

Fears that the promised hospital would never be built have been growing since South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said in 2013 that it wanted to see a “health and social care centre” - in effect a 68-bed nursing home – on the site of the former acute hospital.

But now the CCG has revealed proposals for a 74-bed community hospital at both Frenchay and at Thornbury Hospital. Each will have 44 rehabilitation beds and 30 nursing beds.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement: “The announcement of a new hospital on the Frenchay site demonstrates our commitment to the NHS locally.”

The CCG will now prepare its business case for the development of the hospitals, with plans expected to be completed in March.

Barbara Harris, spokeswoman for the Save Frenchay Community Hospital Group, said the announcement of commissioning intentions was welcome after a five-year wait but until more details were available, she remained wary.

She said: “There are no details of the levels of service provision for these units, nor of staffing levels. The public need to know exactly what is being proposed and what services there will be in support of those beds.”

The group wants to know whether Frenchay will be a community hospital or one with just nursing home beds, what diagnostic tests will be available and whether a geriatrician will be in attendance.

Mrs Harris said: “What is clear, however, is these proposals fall far short of the twice formally approved community hospital, with outpatients and diagnostic clinics, which would have saved residents from having to access Southmead Hospital.”

She said the group would be “watching like hawks” to ensure the new provision met the legal requirement to improve on current services.

Thornbury and Yate MP Luke Hall welcomed the CCG announcement.

He said: “The desire for new and redeveloped facilities at both Thornbury and Frenchay has been very clear when speaking to local people about health care in our area.”