A&E months away from being fully-staffed for 24/7 opening

PUBLISHED: 06:00 12 January 2018

Chief executive James Rimmer.

Chief executive James Rimmer.


Weston General Hospital’s A&E will not be in a position to resume a 24-hour service in the months to come as it struggles to attract high-level doctors.

A shortage in mid-level doctors and consultants has seen the emergency ward close nightly since July, and Weston Area Health NHS Trust’s (WAHT’s) board revealed this week it is still far from being fully staffed.

James Rimmer, WAHT’s chief executive, told the Mercury that recruiters are looking across the globe to find the right staff.

The trust announced on Tuesday its ninth – and final – mid-grade doctor will join the hospital at the end of May. All the recruits will undergo a three-month training programme so A&E can have a ‘viable rota’.

Phil Walmsley, WAHT’s director of operations, said the trust needs to make sure they are ‘safe to practise’ and are up to speed with British methods as they have been recruited from abroad.

The hiring of A&E consultants has been less successful.

The hospital still has the equivalent of 2.6 consultants, as it did when the temporary closure began. Eight are required.

Mr Rimmer believes once the middle tier of medics is in place and the long-term Healthy Weston plan for the town develops, it will be easier to attract consultants as there will be far less uncertainty.

He said recruiting emergency consultants was an issue for all hospital trusts, not just Weston.

Several changes have taken place at the hospital in recent months, including a revamp of how A&E looks and is structured.

Advanced nurse practitioners are now stationed within A&E to lessen emergency doctors’ work and to improve patient care.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), whose criticism last year led to the overnight closure, made an unannounced inspection last month. Mr Rimmer said the CQC recognised steps had been made to ensure patients are moved from A&E as soon as is practical.

A&E waiting times have reduced with 87 per cent of patients being seen within four hours since April 2017, compared with 77 per cent in 2016/17. The national target is 95 per cent.

Mr Rimmer paid tribute to the hard work of staff over the winter for embracing change and improving the hospital.

He said: “They have been exceptional. Sickness is hitting everyone but they have been exceptional and I cannot praise 
them enough.”

More from Weston Mercury


A pedestrian has been killed in a crash in involving a lorry.

Read more

Staff and families raised more than £3,000 at a primary school’s Christmas fair.

Read more

A smash hit West End play will visit the Bristol Hippodrome in February.

Read more

A Mead Vale youngster has sold handmade festive goods to help those who need food over Christmas.

Read more

A concert featuring some of Weston’s most popular acts will come to the Grand Pier this Christmas.

Read more

An artist hoping to remind people of the ‘true meaning of Christmas’ has created a 20ft angel in Locking Castle.

Read more

The first of this year’s Go Kids Go! money has been spent by a Weston-based scout group.

Read more
Yesterday, 21:00

Festive fliers have been advised to pack presents in their hold luggage to avoid them being unwrapped at security.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00

Girls from across the Extend Learning Academies Network in Weston came together for an inter-schools football tournament.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

Weston stroke survivors could benefit from a ‘life-changing’ new rehabilitation programme.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

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

Local Weather

Heavy Showers

Heavy Showers

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 5°C

Useful Links

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

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists