Council due to discuss revised plans for the future of Frenchay Hospital
MAJOR changes to the original proposals for the future of Frenchay Hospital are being put to South Gloucestershire Council for approval today (Thursday, September 19).
The South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has decided there should be no diagnostic or outpatient facilities at Frenchay after the hospital closes in May 2014 before a new £430million hospital opens in Southmead.
The health group says the proposals for the services, which the public were consulted on three years ago, were unaffordable, would not support the long-term aim of providing more care at home and that there is sufficient capacity already at Cossham Hospital and the West Gate Centre in Yate.
It is also recommending that 68 rehabilitation beds, which will be provided at Southmead until 2016 before being moved to the Frenchay site, should be supplied on a flexible basis. Ben Bennett, programme director on behalf of the CCG, said although the plans varied substantially the changes would benefit patients.
"The revised proposals will mean that diagnostics and outpatient services for South Gloucestershire will be available locally in modern, purpose-designed facilities at Yate, Cossham and Southmead,” he said. “Together with services at Emerson’s Green, this will improve local access and choice for these services whilst avoiding unnecessary duplication of services at Frenchay.
"The revised proposals represent a change from the 2010 emerging theme proposals which involved the development of a community hospital on the Frenchay site encompassing outpatient, diagnostic and inpatient services. Nevertheless they are entirely consistent with the original objectives of providing locally-accessible services to people in South Gloucestershire from a network of community facilities, including inpatient beds for rehabilitation."
The Bristol Health Services Plan chose the Southmead site over Frenchay in 2005 following a bitter dispute over accessibility and expansion opportunities but with the controversial decision came assurances that non-acute services would remain on the site. Transport links to the new Southmead hospital were also promised but the Gazette reported last week how a direct bus from Yate to Southmead is looking unlikely due to lack of funding and commercial interest.
Cllr Sue Hope (Lib Dem, Cotswold Edge) said concern would be raised over the changes when they are presented to the council’s public health scrutiny committee today (2pm) at the council offices in Thornbury.
"There will be no diagnostics or outpatients at Frenchay and that is a substantial variation," she said. "And the past evidence of use of services at Yate is not good. There was a reduction in hours of X-ray services in June 2011 - that is not positive.
"And the report does not say anywhere what services there are going to be in Yate. Until we have proper services at Yate for people to access it is not going to work."
North Bristol NHS Trust, which owns the land at Frenchay, has applied for planning permission for 490 houses, a new primary school and a health and social care centre or extra care housing scheme which would accommodate the rehabilitation beds. There is local opposition to the scale of the scheme and density of houses and the council is expected to decide on the plans by the end of the year.
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