Frenchay Hospital to lose more beds and services

The ConservativesConservative campaigners have expressed concerns after proposals emerged to downgrade Frenchay Hospital even further.

The accusation follows publication of a paper from the Labour government’s NHS South Gloucestershire organisation that is to be presented to councillors on South Gloucestershire Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 6 January.

Entitled ‘Frenchay Project – the Emerging Themes’, the document refers to only 50-60 ‘rehabilitation’ beds, rather than the 112 beds previously promised.

Published in 2006 soon after the Bristol Health Services Plan, the Outline Business Case promised 84 beds, made up of 54 general rehabilitation beds and a further 30 beds to service the stroke rehabilitation needs for neighbouring health trusts.

The 84 beds were to be supplemented by 28 inpatient beds for older people with a mental illness.

In addition to the loss of beds, the document makes clear that the Frenchay site would not have a treatment suite or minor injuries unit – which also implies a lack of GP out-of-hours base.

South Gloucestershire Conservatives had been at the forefront of campaigning efforts and have backed the Save Frenchay Hospital Group.

They have criticised Labour’s latest plans to further downgrade Frenchay come at a time when Ministers are also proposing to build 32,800 more houses in South Gloucestershire.

Jack Lopresti, prospective Conservative MP for the new Filton and Bradley Stoke constituency which contains Frenchay hospital, said:

“The emerging proposals for the Frenchay site are extremely concerning because they represent a further downgrading of our beloved and much-respected hospital at the same time that Labour Ministers want to impose nearly 33,000 more houses on our area.

When Labour decided to downgrade our world-renowned hospital, we were told that some services would still be provided including a minor injuries unit, treatment suite and out-of-hours GP service. Yet now we learn that we are likely to lose these services too.

We will continue our campaign to retain facilities at Frenchay Hospital.”

Chris Skidmore, prospective Conservative MP for Kingswood, said:

“The Government has already shown itself to be anti-Frenchay by building the Independent Sector Treatment Centre just a few miles away.

There was no consultation on the ISTC and it is now providing services that could have been located at Frenchay.

Whilst we approve of any investment in our local NHS, this should not be at the expense of the many excellent facilities that currently exist at Frenchay.

On the one hand the Government is planning to build masses of houses in Frenchay’s catchment area, yet on the other it is steadily revising the plans for the hospital downwards as each year goes by.

What the Government is proposing is not what we were promised and so at the very least local residents should be allowed to formally give their views as part of a genuine consultation exercise on these plans.”

Cllr Matthew Riddle, prospective Conservative MP for Thornbury and Yate, added:

“The Government’s justification for radically downgrading Frenchay was that community health facilities would be improved, but some projects, like the crucial rebuild of Thornbury hospital, still face huge delay, despite an unprecedented period of public spending.

The last thing that should be considered is a further downgrading of Frenchay when this Government’s existing promises are yet to be delivered and tens of thousands more houses are on the horizon.”

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council