Long wait for Frenchay future to be decided
THE future of a planned community hospital at Frenchay is not likely to be decided for another three months.
Conservative councillors in South Gloucestershire said they were disappointed that uncertainty over the scheme is set to continue longer than they had expected.
The Post revealed last October that a review into the future of services for frail older people had been launched, including the planned health and social care centre at Frenchay, which was due to built on part of the current acute hospital site in conjunction with a partner organisation.
Programme director of strategic development for the NHS in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, Ben Bennett, said that it had been necessary to look at the number of beds and services that will be needed in the community as well as considering outpatients services and the NHS's financial position.
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He told yesterday's meeting of South Gloucestershire Council's public health and health scrutiny committee that he would provide them with more information in April.
But he told The Post that if there are significant changes to the project as a result of the review there may be a need for further consultation.
He said: "We have made the point that we have now got this fabulous facility at Cossham but we have got to make sure that it is full."
Mr Bennett said that Cossham Hospital, which opens next week after a major refit, has scope to be a base for more NHS services.
He added that improvements in community care generally may mean fewer beds are needed at Frenchay and that such details need to be worked out before a contract is signed with an organisation to build and manage the health centre.
Councillor John Godwin (Con, Winterbourne), a former chairman of the Save Frenchay Hospital Group who worked on the community hospital plans, said: "It was disappointing to hear the inability of the local NHS to give us and the local community a clear date by which we will know what changes, if any, they plan to make to our planned new community hospital."