Proposed health and care facilities for Thornbury and Frenchay welcome – but fears that outpatient services are being forgotten
Liberal Democrat councillors have welcomed South Gloucestershire Council taking on the lead commissioner role for proposed health and care facilities at Thornbury and Frenchay – but stress that the proposals do not go far enough.
Thornbury councillor, Maggie Tyrrell, said: “Lib Dem councillors have been campaigning for new health and care facilities for Thornbury for years. While we welcome this latest news on rehabilitation and care services, we are concerned that no plans have yet been forthcoming to replace outpatient services currently provided by Thornbury Hospital, which is due to be decommissioned within the next few years. We would call upon the local NHS and the Council to work together to draw up plans that will address all of Thornbury’s health needs, not just one aspect of them.
“In December Cllr Shirley Holloway and I successfully passed an amendment at Council calling upon the Conservative administration to ensure that community stakeholder groups are set up as part of the process of commissioning new health services at Thornbury and Frenchay. We will be reminding the administration that they must honour this commitment to local people, to ensure that residents’ voices are heard as part of this process.”
Commenting on proposed facilities, Lib Dem lead member for Heath Scrutiny, Cllr Sue Hope, said: “While we welcome any additional health services for South Gloucestershire, we must be clear that these proposals still fall far short of meeting future local health needs. The new Thornbury facility will likely see 6-10 NHS beds and around 36 beds for dementia patients within a nursing home. This in no way constitutes a ‘new hospital’ for Thornbury, despite misleading Conservative claims to the contrary. We will continue to lobby Government and local health managers to deliver the health facilities local people need.”
At the Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee this morning, Liberal Democrat councillors have raised local residents’ concerns about the state of services at Yate Minor Injuries Unit.
Cllr Claire Young (Westerleigh) said: “There is continued confusion about what services are on offer at the MIU. It’s not always reasonable to expect patients to understand the distinction between a minor ailment and a minor injury. This isn’t helped by the fact that staff sometimes seem confused themselves. Recently, a resident was turned away by a receptionist at the MIU and told she should see a GP, despite having an inflamed and broken foot – precisely the kind of injury that should be treated at the MIU. Much of this confusion could be resolved if the NHS provided a walk-in surgery for minor injuries and minor ailments at the MIU site, rather than redirecting patients to services elsewhere.”
Health Scrutiny councillor, Sue Walker (Yate Central) said: “The MIU management’s policy of turning patients away at busy times continues to cause significant problems. A resident in their seventies was recently turned away three times in one day. Clearly this is unacceptable. The MIU should be provided with the resources to increase capacity and opening hours, rather than managing demand by turning injured people away.”
Cllr Young added: “Staff are trying their best with the resources they have been given, but clearly the MIU is struggling to cope with demand. After the recent fire at the BRI, patients were told that there would be extended opening at Yate MIU. Instead, patients were being turned away from the MIU as early as 1.30pm. Increasing capacity at the MIU would help it to cope with emergency situations like this in the future.”
Lib Dem disappointment as South Gloucestershire Tories back Government badger cull
South Gloucestershire’s ruling Conservative Group have rejected a Lib Dem motion condemning the Government’s decision to extend their badger cull operation to our local area. Instead, the local Conservatives proposed an amendment calling for the culls to continue.
Proposer of the Lib Dem motion, Cllr Ruth Davis, said: “Our motion backed the campaign by Avon Wildlife Trust and the RSPCA to stop the extension of the Government’s failed cull policy across the West of England. After five years of badger culls, there is no scientific evidence that there has been a reduction in bovine TB in any of the initial pilot areas. Sadly the Conservatives voted down our call on the Government to rethink this cruel, costly, and ineffective policy.”
Seconder of the motion, Cllr Pat Hockey, said: “The Conservatives introduced an entirely rewritten motion calling on the badger culls to go ahead – completely ignoring the Avon Wildlife Trust and RSPCA’s concerns over animal welfare and the ineffectiveness of the culls in tackling TB. In the end a compromise motion was reached, calling for the Government to prioritize the development of effective TB vaccines and research for a cure, but falling short of our call to stop the cull. It’s extremely disappointing that South Gloucestershire Conservatives refused to consider the evidence presented by two of our leading animal welfare charities and, instead, doggedly insisted that the culls must continue.”
Liberal Democrat Councillors are celebrating victory after their proposal to ban disposable cups was passed by South Gloucestershire Council tonight, with minor Conservative amendments.
Proposer of the motion, Cllr Claire Young said: “I’m delighted that our idea has received support across the Council. South Gloucestershire is now among the first local authorities in the country to take the radical step of banning the use of disposable cups at its offices. This will save around 36,000 non-recyclable cups being thrown-away each year and I’m extremely pleased the Lib Dems have been able to provide leadership to the Council on this important environmental issue.”
Seconder of the motion, Cllr Mike Drew, said: “We were disappointed that the Conservatives decided to amend the motion to remove the commitment to implement this change by the end of the year. It should be possible for a well-run local authority to make this change in that timeframe. We will now hold the administration to account to ensure that they don’t drag their heels in carrying out this change.”
Councillor Claire Young presented a petition of 514 residents and commuters at last night’s South Gloucestershire Council meeting asking the Council to find a permanent solution to improve safety on the A46 at Tormarton.
The crossroads formed by the A46 Bath Rd, Acton Turville Rd and the B4465 are currently uncontrolled despite high traffic volumes. Residents had reported that temporary lights at the junction during the recent Bromley Heath Viaduct works had significantly reduced the risk of collisions.
Claire said: “Over 500 people put their name to our petition, which just goes to show the strength of feeling in the area about this problem.
“Residents have put up with the danger posed by crossing or joining the A46 for far too long. The improvement brought by the temporary lights really brought that to people’s attention.
“Similar junctions across South Gloucestershire are controlled by traffic lights and have been for a long time. My petition calls on the Council to work with Highways England to install a system that can give those residents back the safety they gained from the temporary lights, but phased properly to avoid causing delays on what is an important route.”