Don't miss a story sign up to Weston Mercury's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Jeremy Hunt criticised for visiting Weston and staying silent on A&E

PUBLISHED: 08:30 12 August 2017

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt visited Weston-super-Mare's hospital.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt visited Weston-super-Mare's hospital.

Archant

The Secretary of State for health Jeremy Hunt has been accused of showing a ‘distinct lack of leadership’ after visiting Weston General Hospital and failing to speak publicly on the closure of the town’s A&E.

During a tour of the South West, the health secretary spent two hours at the Weston-super-Mare hospital.

A Department of Health (DoH) spokesman told the Mercury the primary purpose of Mr Hunt’s visit was to ‘meet and engage with staff’, which is why the press were not invited.

But, despite the hospital being told of his visit two days prior, the Mercury understands many of its 2,000 staff did not learn of his visit until he had left.

Instead Mr Hunt gave a brief presentation on patient safety to around 50 members of staff. He also spent some time in the A&E department, which closed temporarily overnight on July 4 after inspectors found it could not provide a safe service.

In a statement following the visit, Mr Hunt said: “It was impressive to hear first-hand the improvements the hospital is making to patient safety.

“I know there is some way to go to make the improvements we all want to see – however I’m glad to see the Trust facing these challenges head on.”

It remains unknown when Weston’s A&E will fully re-open and what services it may offer.

A hospital spokesman said Mr Hunt’s visit was ‘not about A&E’ and it is unclear whether it was discussed during his meeting with hospital leaders.

A DoH spokesman said it was a ‘private meeting’ and they ‘do not have any further detail of what was discussed’.

A statement from hospital chief executive James Rimmer said it was ‘encouraging’ to hear Mr Hunt’s possitive comments about the hospital and its staff.

Weston’s MP John Penrose added improving patient safety is ‘central’ to the hospital’s work, and added: “The good news is Jeremy gets it, and wants to see the new plans build firm foundations for Weston’s future.”

But Tim Taylor – who represented Labour in Weston during the General Election – criticised Mr Hunt for flying ‘under the radar’.

He said: “Strong leadership from government and the hospital will be needed to get our A&E opened 24/7. Given the importance of this issue to people in Weston and the surrounding area, Mr Hunt’s failure to speak to media or residents shows a distinct lack of leadership.”

MORE: Protestors call on Weston General Hospital bosses to keep 24-hour A&E – video.

Other News Stories

16:00

An ‘outstanding’ village show has been held in Draycott.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:08

A serious accident between a motorbike and a car has meant part of the dual carriageway in Weston-super-Mare has been closed.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:00

A pop group’s visit and a female pilot made the headlines in the Weston Mercury and Somerset Herald 50 years ago. Here is the news from August 18, 1967.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:27

Weekend motorway traffic is beginning to build up, with reports of cars queuing at Weston-super-Mare’s Junction 21 in both directions today (Saturday).

Read more
Yesterday, 13:00

Pupils from a North Somerset school put on an ‘outstanding’ performance at Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00

Much can change in a week, and we don’t want you to miss out on any of the week’s top stories or fun facts – so each Saturday we’ll be recapping some of the week’s highlights in handy bite-sized form.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00

Parents from Weston-super-Mare are calling on politicians to investigate their baby’s death, as they believe there are still questions over how he was treated in hospital

Read more
Fri, 19:00

A member of Weston Athletics Club is set to lace up his running shoes to take on the Great North Run for charity.

Read more
Fri, 17:01

A gin festival will take over the Grand Pier and a new show from Weston Operatic Society will take place this weekend. Here are five things to do in Weston-super-Mare this weekend.

Read more
Fri, 15:00

A Somerset family has hosted a fair in their father’s memory to raise money for Weston Hospicecare.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 15°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Somerset's trusted business finder