Conservative campaigners have welcomed the local NHS’ plans for Frenchay Hospital and accused of accused Labour Councillors of “gross hypocrisy” over their opposition to plans for employing nursing staff provided through an external company.
It follows a recent meeting of South Gloucestershire Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, where representatives from North Bristol NHS Trust presented the next stage of plans for a new community hospital on the existing Frenchay site.
Services to be provided include:
- 68 community rehabilitation beds including GP access beds (plus support for an additional 47 patients cared for in the community);
- Outpatient facilities for pain management, care of the elderly, respiratory medicine, gastroenterology, diabetes, orthopaedics, rheumatology, neurology and urology;
- Diagnostic tests including bloods, x-ray, ultrasound and echocardiograms;
- Therapy services such as occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, dietetics, podiatry and physiotherapy;
- Complementary services such as the Head Injury Treatment Centre and the Disablement Services Centre;
- Extra Care Housing, a nursing home and a site for a GP surgery.
Although contracts to downgrade Frenchay Hospital and stripping it of its acute services were signed by the previous Labour government shortly before the 2010 General Election, local Conservatives have been campaigning for the maximum possible health facilities to remain at Frenchay.
As a result, the range of services now envisaged for Frenchay is greater than that proposed in the original Bristol Health Services Plan drawn up by the previous Labour government in 2005.
But Labour councillors have criticised the improved hospital plan, particularly for bidders to be invited to run the facility – branding it ‘part-privatisation’’.
This is despite the previous Labour government in 2006 giving the go ahead to an ‘Independent Sector Treatment Centre’ at Emersons Green. That facility opened three years later.
Cllr Trevor Jones, who represents Frenchay and sits on the Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, said:
“As a Frenchay councillor, I very much welcome these plans to retain so many services at Frenchay because the previous Labour government had actually proposed less.”
“In particular, a GP surgery site is really positive because local residents currently have to travel to neighbouring areas if they want to see a GP.”
Cllr Colin Hunt (Con, Emersons Green), a former member of the Save Frenchay Hospital Group, added:
“First Labour councillors enthusiastically back stripping our beloved Frenchay Hospital of its acute services and now they are criticising the involvement of an independent provider even though this is what was used at the Emersons Green Independent Sector Treatment Centre.”
“This is gross hypocrisy from Labour councillors and yet another Labour blow against Frenchay Hospital.”
Source: Conservative Councillors on South Gloucestershire Council