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South West

Bristol Keep Our NHS Public

The Bristol branch of KONP has celebrated notable recent successes....

The vigorous campaign to keep the much loved Cossham Hospital has helped veer local health plans towards a £19million refurbishment.  (

Local lobbying to stop transfer of the breast surgery from Frenchay Hospital has prompted the local NHS planners to carry our a wider review.  For more information see BUST newsletter.

The group's history....

In September 2005 a group of health workers (after gaining the support of their UNISON and AMICUS union branches) organised a meeting entitled ‘Keep Our NHS Public’.  Bristol Keep Our NHS Public emerged from the enthusiasm generated by the sixty people who heard the speakers and the simultaneous launch of a national campaign and website.

A public meeting in March 2006 again brought together over sixty people including many new contacts to the campaign. Discussion centred on opposition to the increasing use of the private sector and the marketisation which forces hospitals to compete for patients. 

The group has played a part in building support for local demonstrations, for national lobbies of Parliament and for workers fighting through their unions to stay within the NHS. Supporters can receive a newsletter by post or email and are welcome at the fortnightly campaign meeting. A press strategy and a local website are being developed, and the group is looking into health scrutiny committees and offering speakers to other groups. 

Signatures are regularly collected for the national Keep Our NHS Public petition and a table draped with a hand-painted banner attracts many who want to discuss the future of the NHS. Determination to save the NHS from being fragmented for profit can unite supporters of different local campaigns and political parties, trade unions, health workers and health service users. Bristol KONP strongly supports the building of a national demonstration as an urgent next step in the nationwide campaign.

Contact: Gwyneth Powell Davies -; Bristol Keep Our NHS Public, PO Box 2593, Kent St, Bedminster, BS3 9AY


Cheltenham Maternity Matters

Cheltenham Maternity Matters believe that we must maintain choice in childbirth and give women the option to give birth in Cheltenham or the surrounding locality. While this may not mean the service stays exactly as it is. there is no justification for removal of the birth unit from the Cheltenham locality.

Local midwives offer a great service and this could continue. Government policy states that the NHS should provide better access to services, and choice over place of birth.  The availability of midwife-led units and birth centres is specifically highlighted as a desirable option. 

The Cheltenham campaign stands together with Stroud Maternity Unit in fighting to maintain these services in Gloucestershire.




Save Frenchay Hospital Group

The group formed in March 2004 following a packed public meeting which had been called to discuss proposals from the North Bristol NHS Trust to site a new acute hospital at Southmead, replacing the A&E facility of Frenchay Hospital. The arguments against the proposal centre on accessibility, with Southmead being situated in a densely populated area with ambulances being required to negotiate traffic hot spots. The Save Frenchay Hospital Group fears that patient lives will be lost if the plan for Southmead is not overturned



Save Westbury Hospital

Westbury Hospital Campaign Group (WHCG) formed in August 2005,  covering Westbury town and surrounding villages, with a population of about 18,000. The group was spurred by the closure without consultation of the local community hospital  in August 2005. Many events have been held including a protest march with over 1,000 supporters attending, a candle lit vigil, a balloon launch, public meetings, a letter writing campaign to the Department Of Health and local PCT, and petitions. Local MP Andrew Murrison has given huge support, attending most protests. Most effective were the marches as they attracted huge media coverage and were very well covered by the press. The group has also attended meetings of Health and Overview Scrutiny committees and PPFI meetings and has had excellent coverage from the local press.

Contact: Erica Watson -


Save Thornbury Hospital

The campaign was started in 2005 by Thornbury Town Council and local MP Steve Webb, and community groups, including the League of Friends of Thornbury Hospital and Thornbury Churches Together. The future of Thornbury Hospital was called into question following the publication of plans by the Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust (AWP) to shut 10 beds on Grace Ward which provided care and assessment for older people with mental health problems, as well as respite care to assist carers who look after patients in their own home for most of the time. Contact: Steve Webb MP -


Stroud Maternity Matters

Stroud Maternity Matters was formed in May 2006 in response to sweeping cuts proposed by the Cotswold & Vale Primary Care Trust. The campaign is compiling a financial report to illustrate that Stroud Maternity is cost effective, and raising awareness of the long term costs to the NHS if Stroud closes. Other tactics include writing to MPs, Health Service chiefs, other Midwife-led Units, the local and  national press, and also lobbying local council members for support. Other events are planned such as a march through town with other campaigners to help protect sites like Weavers Croft and in-patient services at Stroud General, as well as Stroud Maternity.

Contact: Website:


West Cornwall HealthWatch

Following a successful local campaign to defeat a proposal to close a psycho-geriatric unit in Penzance, HealthWatch formed in January 1997 with the aim of acting as a watchdog group to monitor all aspects of local NHS provision, and to encourage people to work proactively with health planners rather than simply reacting to decisions already made. As a non-party political organisation, HealthWatch aims to safeguard and improve NHS services in West Cornwall. Marches, mass letter writing and lobbying of local NHS bodies have all helped to maintain a high media profile, and to contribute positively to the healthcare policies of local town and parish councils.

Contact: Marna Blundy -