Protests over plan to close A&E overnight permanently
PUBLISHED: 18:11 05 February 2019
A large protest was held this afternoon (Tuesday) against plans to permanently close Weston General Hospital's at night.
While health chiefs pushed ahead with the plan – subject to public consultation – Save Our A&E campaigners made their voice heard outside the Royal Hotel.
Ever since the 10pm-8am closure was introduced 18 months ago, it has feared one day emergency care would be scaled back.
Last week the Mercury reported Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was seeking to make the previously ‘temporary’ overnight closure permanent.
But to offset the move, an improved GP out-of-hours service is proposed and increased admissions directly on to wards.
However, the Save Our A&E group is unimpressed with what is on offer.
Campaigner Helen Thornton said: “It is a huge disappointment to us as a campaign group and to residents the CCG has decided its preferred option for the future of Weston A&E is for it to remain as a day-time only service.
“This is simply not good enough for a growing town like Weston, with a population equal to the size of Bath. This decision will put further pressure on the ambulance service and other local hospitals in Bristol, Taunton and Bath.
“It is also disappointing that our local MP John Penrose has given his support to the CCG’s proposals describing them as a return to 24/7 urgent and emergency care.
“But what the CCG is proposing is far removed from a 24/7 consultant-led accident and emergency department – it is a 14/7 medically-led A&E, which may or may not mean led by consultants, with GP cover overnight.
“This is quite simply a down-grading of our hospital.
“We hope that North Somerset councillors on the health overview and scrutiny panel will refer this decision to the Secretary of State, as a substantial variation to local health services.
“As far as we are concerned only one option is good enough for the people of Weston, and that is a return to a fully-functioning A&E open 24 hours a day.”