Decision on reopening A&E at hospital goes out to consultation
PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 February 2019
A decision on whether to permanently close the A&E department at Weston General Hospital overnight will go to public consultation.
The Times reported last week the governing body of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) recommended A&E should not reopen at nights in the long term.
Health bosses stated a medically-led service which would operate between 8am-10pm seven days per week as their preferred option.
The ‘temporary’ A&E night-time closure came into effect in July 2017, after a critical review of the service by the Care Quality Commission and amid fears staffing levels were insufficient to provide safe care.
CCG members agreed to go to consultation which will begin on Wednesday and last for 14 weeks.
Colin Bradbury, area director of North Somerset, stressed despite this being its preferred option, nothing was set in stone and therefore he urged people to make their views clear.
He said: “We have worked hard over the past 18 months to meet the needs of local people.
“Our proposals are aimed at best serving the needs of the population, and the two areas with the most concern are older people and children.
“There has been an overall reduction in the number of walk-in patients using A&E, it is not always the best option because sometimes you need orthopaedic treatment, which is not available at Weston.
“However, this is not a done deal, we want to hear different ideas and feedback.”
The CCG wants to put more focus on a frailty service for elderly people, an extended service for acutely unwell children, and a crisis recovery service for people with mental health needs.
Emergency services and complex operations will continue to be transferred to bigger hospitals at Bristol and Taunton – as was the case before and during the closure.
The CCG also wants to change the critical care service from an intensive care unit to a high dependency unit.
Public meetings will take place during the consultation, with the first event taking place on February 26 and lasting until May 24, with a pause during April ahead of local elections.