Expansion of South Bristol hospital services more pressing than ever

Left to right: Dr John Savage CBE, Chairman of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Karin Smyth MP, hospital General Manager, Neina English, Heidi Alexander MP, and Robert Woolley, Chief Executive, UH Bristol
Discussing Karin Smyth’s South Bristol NHS Community Hospital survey left to right: Dr John Savage CBE, Chairman of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Karin Smyth MP, hospital General Manager, Neina English, Heidi Alexander MP, and Robert Woolley, Chief Executive, UH Bristol

A Bristol MP has stepped up pressure on healthcare managers to bring forward plans to expand the range of services available at the South Bristol NHS Community Hospital at Hengrove to help reduce the need for people to travel across the city for healthcare.

In a community consultation she carried out during last autumn and winter, Karin Smyth MP found nine out of ten south Bristol people would like to see more services introduced there.

In a new letter to managers at the University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group, and the North Bristol NHS Trust, Karin Smyth says pressure from local people is increasing and that an expansion of services is more pressing than ever.

“It is becoming more and more evident that residents’ experiences of having to travel from their south Bristol home elsewhere to access vital healthcare is not only common, but a source of anxiety and stress, not least due to the inconvenience, time and cost.

“When I’m out in my constituency, residents frequently talk to me about the need for services at Hengrove to be expanded.

“Many of my constituents are concerned that timelines for key decisions affecting the expansion of services to Hengrove might drift,” she writes.

The Labour MP added: “Even with the best of intentions, the wheels of decision-making can sometimes spin quite slowly, but day-in, day-out south Bristol people are having to trek across the city to Southmead and the BRI for services they feel could be more effectively delivered at their local hospital.

“People living in south Bristol fought hard to get a hospital in our area and we now have a really good foundation, so it is important we take quick steps to build on this and improve local access to quality healthcare.”

Karin Smyth’s community survey showed:
• A large majority of people have direct experience of using South Bristol NHS Community Hospital, and most are warm and positive about it
• Nine out of ten respondents think there should be more services there
• Two thirds of people who have completed the survey travel elsewhere in the city for some healthcare.
• Cancer screening services, followed by a seven day GP service, and are the most sought-after additional services, judging by the responses so far.

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