Weston General Hospital faces A&E shake-up

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 February 2017 | UPDATED: 08:19 09 February 2017

A lack of beds at the hospital is placing increasing pressure on staff.

A lack of beds at the hospital is placing increasing pressure on staff.


Paramedics will be instructed not to take people with medical emergencies overnight to Weston General Hospital, if new proposals outlined this morning (Thursday) are ratified.

Weston Area Health NHS Trust, which runs North Somerset’s biggest hospital, and the NHS North Somerset Commissioning Group (CCG) are launching an eight-week engagement period with the public to get feedback on their proposals.

The most significant affects the hospital’s A&E ward – the only one in North Somerset.

Ambulances will be directed to hospitals in Bristol or Taunton, if the plan is confirmed, between the hours of 10pm and 8am.

The emergency department however would remain open 24/7.

The three other proposals are: to increase the number of beds in the critical care unit, to bring non-complex operations to Weston and to transfer some emergency procedures to other hospitals.

James Rimmer, chief executive of WAHT, said: “This is the next step in building a strong future for Weston General as a crucial part of the NHS in the south west and a hospital that offers emergency and urgent care for the region.

The hospital's chief executive James Rimmer.The hospital's chief executive James Rimmer.

“We have caring staff who are absolutely committed to patient care and a hospital with good resources that we need to make the most of.

“This engagement process is about shaping some of our services and working in partnership across the region so that we can continue to provide excellent care for decades to come.

“These ideas have been put together with some of our doctors, nurses and other staff both at the hospital and across the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire region.

“We want to know what our staff and public think and we look forward to hearing people’s ideas, views and comments so that we can develop these ideas further.”

Dr Mary Backhouse, chief clinical officer for the CCG, said the hospital’s small size meant it face challenges which needed addressing.

She added: ““As a local GP I hear first-hand from patients and carers about their experiences of services.

“I am absolutely convinced we need to look at making changes to the way services are run to enable us to continue delivering high quality care in the future.

“There are no easy answers to this but alongside local doctors and nurses, we’ve started developing some outline ideas on how things could look in the future and we want to hear what you think.”

The engagement process will run until April 6.

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