Have your say over changes at Weston General Hospital

Weston Hospital ordered to improve after CQC report

People can have their say over proposed changes at Weston General Hospital - Credit: Archant

People are going to have their say over plans which would see some patients needing specialist inpatient care for more than 24 hours transferred away from Weston General Hospital.

The proposal is part of a wide-ranging series of changes planned for the hospital aimed at improving the service, say health chiefs.

Yesterday (June 7), NHS leaders approved an eight-week public engagement exercise on the proposed changes.

Under the plans, the current 14-hour care provision and seven-days a week A&E service would be retained, as well as thousands more planned procedures - including hip, knee and cataract operations - taking place locally each year.

The scheme has been developed by senior doctors, nurses, health and care staff with input from a public and patient reference group, designed to secure a sustainable future for the hospital, and to ensure it can attract and retain the staff it needs in the long-term.

Under the proposals, everyone arriving at the hospital by ambulance would receive their initial assessment and treatment at Weston General Hospital, as is the case today.

However, some patients needing specialist inpatient care – in specialties such as gastronenterology and cardiology - for more than 24 hours following admission would be transferred to a neighbouring hospital for their care.

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This approach would see around eight transfers per day.

The NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) gave the go-ahead for the next phase at its meeting on Tuesday following the presentation of an Outline Business Case by senior clinicians.

A public engagement exercise will run from June 20 to August 14 to test and refine the proposal – ensuring its potential impacts have been considered from the perspective of local people and health and care staff.

The eight-week period will also consider the ongoing approach to engagement as changes become part of regular service improvement.

Clinical chair of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG, Dr Jonathan Hayes, said: "This proposal moves us another step closer to our ambition for Weston General Hospital to lead the country as a pioneer for successful local hospitals - delivering high-quality care that meets people’s needs.

"Changes introduced in the first phase of the Healthy Weston programme have already made services at the hospital stronger and more joined-up, with closer working between local GP practices and hospital staff.

"This next phase is designed to build on this and ensure a dynamic future for Weston General Hospital at the heart of the community. 

"We are looking forward to refining the proposal further with input from local people."

Dr Andrew Hollowood, Weston General Hospital medical director, said: "The proposal is real opportunity to secure a bright and sustainable future for Weston General Hospital.

"By changing how we treat people needing an emergency inpatient stay of longer than 24 hours, we can create the capacity to provide more of the services local people need and use most often. 

"This includes undertaking thousands more additional planned procedures locally in Weston each year.

"I look forward to discussing the proposal with local people during the engagement exercise."

For more details, visit the Healthy Weston website at https://bnssghealthiertogether.org.uk/healthy-weston-phase-2/