Cossham Memorial Hospital reopens after £19m refit

Handel Cossham
Image caption Handel Cossham was born in Thornbury near Bristol in March 1824

A Bristol hospital has reopened to patients after a £19m refurbishment.

Cossham Memorial Hospital near Kingswood now includes the area's first stand-alone, midwife-led birth centre, and a renal dialysis unit.

The facility has remained open thanks to campaigners who fought plans by the NHS to close it some years ago.

The 105-year-old hospital was originally built using money left in the will of the late local councillor and MP Handel Cossham.

"I think it's absolutely amazing and I'm completely over the moon with it," said Angela Hancock from Winterbourne, one of Cossham's nearest living relatives, about the refit.

"I think it's because of all the people in Kingswood and the area who have fought so hard to keep it open.

"We're just so thrilled. We feel that Handel Cossham left it for the people and to close it would have just been so sad. And also because all the people in the area wanted to keep it open anyway, so it's fantastic."

North Bristol NHS Trust will run the services from Cossham.

'Beautiful building'

"The reopening of Cossham Hospital will be a fantastic boost for local people who can now access a wide range of outpatient and diagnostic services on their doorstep," said Dr Stephen Illingworth from the South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.

"Cossham will now deliver twice as many outpatient appointments, diagnostic and therapy services as before, in a facility that has preserved the best of the old beautiful building whilst creating modern facilities inside".

Other new services include enhanced X-ray, ultrasound, and MRI and CT scanning facilities.

Image caption An old postcard of Cossham Memorial Hospital

Sasha Karakusevic, the trust's chief operating officer, said the new facilities are "fresh, modern and welcoming".

The refurbishment has kept many original features from the building which first opened on 1 June 1907.

It is located at the top of Lodge Hill, on the border of Fishponds and Kingswood.

Roy Tippett, chairman of the Cossham Hospital League of Friends, said: "The hospital and its staff have certainly carried out this wish and created a welcoming atmosphere which aids the healing process.

"Cossham Memorial Hospital still looks the same from the outside but is now a modern hospital on the inside. I'm sure Handel will have given his full approval."

Handel Cossham was born in Thornbury near Bristol in March 1824.

In his will, having no children, he left his estate in trust, so that after the death of his wife, a hospital could be built for the working people of East Bristol and South Gloucestershire, who were largely miner's families.

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