A PETITION is being launched to try and push through proposals to improve the facilities at Thornbury Hospital.
The petition forms part of a lengthy campaign and will be posted to every house in the Thornbury and Alveston area over the coming few weeks to try and garner support to try and force a decision on the hospital.
Calls for action regarding the proposals have only been increased as hundreds of new homes are being built in the town over the next few years.
Plans to change the facilities on offer at the hospital were initially proposed in 2004 but 10 years down the line little progress has been made.
The initial plan was for a new hospital and health centre to be built in Thornbury however this was later scaled back with the hospital’s Henderson Ward ear-marked to make way for a new health centre and nursing home.
Councillors have become frustrated that, whilst work has been completed at other sites in South Gloucestershire – most notably with Yate’s new health centre and minor injuries centre and with the recent improvements made at Cossham Hospital, Thornbury Hospital has been left in the lurch.
The new petition calls on the NHS to give a ‘definite timetable’ for the introduction of new services at the site.
The proposals will be discussed at a South Gloucestershire Council Health Scrutiny Committee held next month to discuss the ongoing proposals where it is also hoped a timescale for works may possibly be decided.
A new health centre, nursing home and between six and eight NHS beds are now being discussed to replace the existing Henderson Ward.
Ownership of the land on which the hospital is situated has caused added complications to the whole project as half is owned by the Primary Care Trust and the other half by the North Bristol NHS Trust.
In 2004 the Bristol Health Services Plan consultation described Thornbury Hospital as an inefficient site that was expensive to run and noted that it had poor diagnostic and outpatient facilities.
Councillor and long-term campaigner Shirley Holloway has been campaigning for changes to be pushed through at the hospital for several years and is hopeful that the latest petition will set the ball rolling.
She said: “We are launching this petition to try and force something through a really kick up a fuss.
“It’s been 10 years since these plans were initially discussed and now I have about an inch of paperwork from various meetings about plans for the hospital.
“It wasn’t that long ago that we were discussing where to put the doors on a new hospital.
“It’s frustrating to see progress being made elsewhere, in Yate and at Cossham while we’re still stuck in the early stages.
“We’ve been left waiting whilst other health services in the area have gone through the whole process and are now finished.
“Hopefully this petition will help speed up the process and we’ll see some kind of development at the hospital soon.”
The petition will be posted to every house in the Alveston and Thornbury area within the next few weeks.
A spokesman for South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Due to the changes in the NHS, delays were encountered in resolving issues relating to the Primary Care Trust’s (PCT) ownership of the health centre site.
“The CCG is now working with new partner organisations and with existing partners to re-establish a process for progressing the previously agreed plans for development of local health and social care services in Thornbury.
“Further information about this, – including a timetable for progressing these plans is expected to be available in Autumn 2014.”