Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/361/5941
Save Southmead Hospital
"WE DON'T need to consult the public over casualty - keeping it open would put patients in danger." This was how North Bristol NHS Trust told local people that Southmead Hospital's Accident and Emergency (A&E) department, which has served north and north west Bristol for decades, was closing without consultation.
Graeme Jones, Bristol
They plan to expand the A&E department at Frenchay, some four miles around a busy ring road. Now developers say they want to build up to 1,600 new homes on a brownfield site adjacent to Frenchay Hospital.
If they succeed this could mean thousands more vehicles using the ring road near to the hospital, with potentially disastrous consequences.
Scandalously local councillors of all parties agreed to the closure, accepting the false argument that keeping an inadequate service open would put lives at risk. In fact it is the running down of the service over several years which is putting people at risk.
Incredibly, the NHS Trust managers say that this cannot be described as a service closure and is in no way linked to the £45 million overdraft recorded last year.
They also deny longer-term plans to close the entire hospital, but we know they plan to build a new 'super' hospital by 2012, using private finance, at an as yet undisclosed site. This is likely to replace both Southmead and Frenchay, these sites being sold off to private developers.
The old Bristol General Hospital is already being sold to developers to turn it into yuppie flats. They intend to use the funds raised to partially pay for the long-awaited South Bristol Hospital, the shortfall coming from private finance.
The people of Bristol need adequately funded, quality healthcare, accessible to all. Private finance, however, seeks only to profit from its investment. Unfortunately the 'top medics' and trust managers' actions make it clear that finance is firmly at the top of their agenda, not providing adequate public health services.
Socialist Party members in North Bristol have been canvassing around the hospital and on Southmead estate, where we found almost 100% support for the casualty staying open. People are very angry, and this could be the issue which ignites a campaign to save the hospital from closure.
In The Socialist 11 September 2004:
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