Save Our A&E organises protest against A&E changes

Protesters outside Weston Hospital.

Protesters outside Weston Hospital. - Credit: Archant

A protest will be held next week designed to put pressure on health chiefs and ensure a 24/7 A&E will be resurrected for Weston-super-Mare.

The Save Weston A&E campaign group will be making its voice heard in the town centre on Tuesday.

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) this week revealed its recommendations, but Save Weston A&E is adamant anything other than a 24/7 emergency department would sell Weston short.

MORE: Health chiefs outline recommended plan for Weston’s A&E.

Campaigner Helen Thornton said: “When our A&E was closed overnight on a temporary basis in July 2017 we never imagined that 18 months later it would still be closed.

“‘Temporary’ to us meant a few months, maybe six months at the most.

“During the past 18 months our campaign group have organised a number of events, including two marches through the town, and many protests at hospital board meetings, to raise awareness of what is happening and make our feelings known.

“We were originally told that the night-time closure of A&E was caused by failure to recruit sufficient doctors and consultants, but we now understand that the required numbers have been recruited.

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“In addition, the consultants based at Weston General Hospital have put forward their own plan to re-open a 24/7 A&E, and apparently are in talks with the CCG about this plan – we hope the CCG listens.”

Over recent weeks the Mercury has reported staff concerns about a potential downgrading of A&E services.

Consultants say relying more on Bristol and Taunton for emergency care would represent ‘a risk’ to the wider healthcare system.

MORE: Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose backs consultants.

Ms Thornton added: “The CCG is meeting on Tuesday to start the consultation on the future of health services in Weston.

“Of the five options previously mentioned, only one of them is a return to a 24/7 A&E.

“As far as we are concerned only one option will be good enough for the people of Weston, and that is a return to a fully functioning A&E open 24 hours a day.

“We need the people of Weston to come to the CCG meeting (next week) to show that they need their A&E department re-opened overnight.

“We look forward to seeing you all there at 1pm outside the Royal Hotel in Weston.”

The CCG is expected to push ahead with its recommendation at a meeting at the same venue at 1.30pm.

Assuming that occurs, the idea will go out for public consultation this month.