Thornbury Hospital to shut by end of year as NHS services move to ex-charity shop
THORNBURY Hospital will be empty by the end of the year as its last services are relocated to a former charity shop in the town centre.
Health bosses hope to move outpatient and community midwifery to the new location some time around November.
The move will address fears that patients would have to travel to Bristol for outpatient and midwife appointments.
But concerns have been raised about the availability of car parking at the new location, the former Multiple Sclerosis People’s Help charity shop in the town’s main shopping centre.
North Bristol NHS Trust said it does not need to consult the public about the move because the services are staying in Thornbury.
The trust plans to convert the former unit at 9 St Mary Street, above, and is currently in negotiations over the lease.
Trust divisional operations director Karen Marshall said that once converted, the new premises will provide improved facilities for patients and better security for staff, with 24/7 CCTV in the area.
Thornbury’s cramped Victorian hospital has been deemed “no longer fit for purpose” and has been plagued by vandalism and intimidation towards staff.
However, it has its own car park, unlike the new premises in the St Mary Centre.
Ms Marshall told South Gloucestershire Council’s health scrutiny committee that the new location behind Aldi was “accessible”, with a drop-off area, eight bus routes within walking distance, and free car parks nearby.
But Thornbury ward Liberal Democrat councillor Shirley Holloway expressed surprise at the director’s “innocence” about the ease of finding a space in the Castle Court, Rock Street and St Mary’s Street car parks.
“I’m absolutely delighted that you’ve managed to find somewhere for outpatients in Thornbury, and I’m sure it will be very popular,” Cllr Holloway said at the meeting on June 18.
“I do have one concern, however: your innocence about the car parking spaces and free car parks. Indeed, they’re all very adjacent. At nine o’clock, the long stay car park is full and by 10 o’clock, it’s very difficult to find a space.
“Councillors are coming to our town council meetings late, because they just can’t find anywhere to park. People who are elderly are going to find it even more difficult.”
Severn Vale ward Conservative councillor Matthew Riddle said people living in the villages around Thornbury have to drive in because there’s “not much bus service”.
Committee chair Sarah Pomfret (Con, Bradley Stoke North) said: “I think it’s a really positive outcome and it’s been a fairly difficult time for the patients and staff of Thornbury.”
Outpatient appointments for colorectal, gynaecology, respiratory and neurology plus regular community midwifery sessions will continue from Thornbury Hospital until winter.
Once the hospital is empty, the NHS plans to redevelop the site as part of wider plans to significantly modernise health facilities in Thornbury.
Other services run by Sirona care and health moved out late last year, with physiotherapy relocated to Thornbury Leisure Centre and an inpatient ward to the Grace Care Centre.
Plans to create a new primary and community care centre in Thornbury have been fraught with delays.
By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service