Monday, 3 September 2007

Where now for Frenchay

Back to blogging after a Summer break!

Over the Summer I was on tenterhooks waiting to hear from the Parliamentary Ombudsman whether she would investigate the way the decision to downgrade Frenchay Hospital was taken. After a pretty detailed investigation she has unfortunately decided that it doesn't fall within her remit. One of the paradoxes is that the Ombudsman looks at cases where people have suffered 'injustice' because of 'maladministration'. But because Frenchay hasn't gone yet, it's hard to identify someone who has already 'suffered injustice'. And by the time we do have people suffering from Frenchay's closure it will be too late to do anything about it!

People sometimes say to me "you just want Frenchay because it's local to your constituents", but in fact I think that the 'Bristol Health Services Plan' as a whole should have gone for Frenchay. The reason is that they are trying to serve the whole of Bristol and South Glos. with two main hospitals - and in my book that means one in Bristol and one in South Glos. (ie BRI + Frenchay) works better than two in Bristol (ie BRI + Southmead).

If we follow this route, then people who live near Southmead are still fairly near a big hospital - the BRI - whereas if we go the way they plan, how are people in Yate/Sodbury and beyond meant to get to Southmead in an emergency in the rush hour. A recent study showed that time to A&E departments can be critical (not a surprise really!) .

We now have a new health secretary so I will be going back to him to call for an independent look at this decision. We can't give up without a fight.

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