A&E review plans 'significant win for council'

PUBLISHED: 15:55 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:03 23 October 2019

Cllr Mike Bell is not happy with the decision to axe Weston General Hospital's overnight A&E service on a permanent basis. Pictures: North Somerset Council/Mark Atherton

Cllr Mike Bell is not happy with the decision to axe Weston General Hospital's overnight A&E service on a permanent basis. Pictures: North Somerset Council/Mark Atherton

North Somerset Council/Mark Atherton

North Somerset Council's deputy leader has welcomed plans to review the A&E overnight closure in 2021.

Cllr Mike Bell said the authority had 'a number of concerns about the Healthy Weston proposals' in particular, the A&E's permanent overnight closure.

Cllr Bell said: "We have repeatedly made the case to Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) that the merger of the two trusts (Weston Area Health and University Hospitals Bristol) has the potential to offer greater flexibility in recruitment and retention and could open the possibility of a return to a 24/7 A&E.

"I am delighted the CCG, after pressure from our health scrutiny panel, has agreed to a review which will look at the impacts of the changes and, crucially, will explore the potential to return to a 24/7 A&E.

"This is a significant win for the council in standing up for the concerns of local residents as it reverses the permanent overnight closure and delivers a commitment to an open review when the changes have been able to show their impact."

MORE: Hospital alert at highest level due to surge in demand.

North Somerset Council's health overview and scrutiny panel withdrew its threat from last month about seeking all councillors' support in referring the matter to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, immediately.

The CCG said emergency surgery will still be provided every day, for 12 hours, and an increased number of patients will be admitted to hospital wards at night, bypassing the traditional route through A&E.

Cllr Bell added: "This outcome reverses the planned permanent overnight closure and delivers a commitment to an open review when the changes have been able to show their impact.

"This is what the council has consistently asked for and I am pleased that the CCG has agreed to change their position and to work with us on this."

MORE: 'There will be no going back' - councillor Bell disappointed with A&E night closure.

Cllr Marc Aplin, who sat on the HOSP panel, told the Mercury: "The agreed review in April 2021 lets the Weston and Bristol merger and other really important, positive changes proposed in Healthy Weston happen, while giving the HOSP opportunity to make sure patient outcomes are improving, as doctors and health chiefs have assured us they will.

"Going forward, we want to build and provide more treatment in Weston such as chemotherapy, cataract operations and knee surgeries to save people having to travel to Bristol or Taunton when they are unwell.

"Weston has an exciting future as a strong and thriving hospital."

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