How will we meet healthcare needs?

HEALTH chiefs are being asked to take a fresh look at how they will meet the needs of the growing population in east Bristol.

Councillors are concerned that proposals made 15 years ago have not been delivered and might not be the best solution to future needs.

They want local NHS providers to take a look at all aspects, including hospital services, GPs, dentistry and mental health in the light of recent and projected increases in the numbers of people living in the area.

The call comes as both Bristol and South Gloucestershire Councils are drawing up their Local Plans, which decide where housing, industry and shops should go.

Bristol’s plan includes 1,500 new homes at Atlas Place in Fishponds while South Gloucestershire is considering allowing thousands of homes to be built close to the ring road in Shortwood, Siston and Warmley.

Labour Councillor for Hillfields Ellie King is leading the demand for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board (BNSSG ICB) to carry out a strategic healthcare assessment so it can develop a series of recommendations about what health provision is needed and where, and how digital services could help.

She points out that a similar assessment in 2009 recommended a community hospital facility in Frenchay and a minor injuries unit in Cossham.

 “Neither of these materialised, and that needs assessment is now so out-of-date its recommendations are too. A new health assessment will give us an up-to-date recommendations about the most suitable and modern facilities for local residents,”she said.

“There are areas of Bristol where it’s near impossible to find an NHS dentist and others where you have to wait especially long for a GP appointment. Bedminster, Hengrove, and my ward of Hillfields, and others, will have thousands of new homes built there in the coming years. 

“These areas will undoubtedly need new healthcare innovations to serve both new and existing residents.” 

Councillor King made the call in a motion to Bristol City Council on December 12 and said the authority would work with the ICB and would lobby the Government to provide funding for the healthcare facilities needed.