Patients in Yate and Chipping Sodbury have £19million Cossham Hospital on their doorstep, says North Bristol NHS Trust
PATIENTS from Yate and Chipping Sodbury are being offered more and more appointments at a newly-refurbished hospital the same distance away as Frenchay. Cossham Hospital in Hillfields, near Staple Hill, reopened in January following a £19million renovation project and now boasts its own birthing centre, physiotherapy and clinical assessment centre, dialysis centre, CT and MRI scanners and a full outpatients centre. Yate and Sodbury reporter Alexandra Womack took a tour of the new and improved facilities.
Many people in the Yate and Chipping Sodbury area are dreading the day Frenchay Hospital closes as an acute unit and is downgraded to a community facility.
Among their fears are not least the length of time it takes to get to Southmead, which from next year will become the region’s main hospital and A&E department.
But little do many people know that there is an alternative. Cossham Hospital offers an impressive number of services from a far more convenient location, with free parking, than Southmead.
The hospital which was given to the community by MP Handel Cossham in 1907 and after a bitter campaign to keep the building, the NHS spent £19million on a modern renovation project which has kept many original features but provided the space and technology a 21st century hospital requires.
Atop the historic building and pride of place in many staff’s hearts is a brand new birth centre, complete with four double-bedrooms which each come with their own en-suite, birthing pool, ipod docking station and television.
With a guaranteed two midwives on every shift, the centre can easily deal with women with uncomplicated pregnancies although there is always the option to transfer to Southmead if needs be.
Gina Augarde, North Bristol NHS Trust’s lead for normal births at Cossham and Southmead, said: “Having low risk women in a high risk environment is not right.
“This is more like a home environment and the partner can stay overnight.
“There is evidence which says women do better in a one-to-one care environment. They come here for appointments so we get to know them well so there is no fear whem they come in labour and that makes such a difference to their hormones and how they feel.”
Since openin in January, 300 babies have been born to women all over greater Bristol and expectant mums have even come from further afield to use the facilities.
On the second floor of a fully-functioning gymnasium used for group physiotherapy, back education, osteoarthritis, falls and ligament reconstruction groups.
Physiotherapist Caroline Prosser said: “It is amazing now, totally different.
“We had a gym before but it was smaller and dark. Now people can see the space and they love it. Automatically people’s mood is different than the old place.”
The outpatient department, including urology, gastroenterology, diabetic medicine, cardiology, dermatology, respiratory medicine and rheumatology, is now offering double the number of appointments than before the refurbishment.
Although the Minor Injury Unit in Yate already has outpatient services, the capacity at Cossham means it can cater for patients from the town as well.
“Although the ideal situation would be to go to Yate if you are from that area,” said trust spokesman Richard Cottle, “space is limited and here we are increasing the amount of appointments we can offer.
“We own this building and are looking at opening on evenings and weekends so people don’t have to go all the way to Southmead.”
In imaging, there are two digital X-ray rooms, two CT scanners and an MRI mobile unit permanently stationed at Cossham.
Senior radiographer Helen Varker said: “You used to have to wait for an X-ray but now it is digital we can see the image within seven seconds.
“We can see up to 100 people a day.”
A renal dialysis unit with 24 beds, which will increase to 48, two ultrasound rooms, a coffee shop run by the Friends of Cossham Hospital and a large seminar room used for ante-natal classes but also available to the community completes the facilities.
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