Doctors say NHS has hit ‘breaking point’ as they predict ‘year-round’ crisis

PUBLISHED: 06:45 02 June 2017

The hub could house services like a GP surgery.

The hub could house services like a GP surgery.


Doctors are warning North Somerset’s NHS is facing a ‘year-round crisis’ as services struggle to cope with huge demand.

Weston General Hospital.Weston General Hospital.

Analysis from the British Medical Association (BMA) shows the NHS experienced its worst winter on record, with high bed occupancy levels, long delays discharging people from hospital and busy A&E units all contributing factors.

The BMA found targets are not being met across the healthcare system; including admission times, ambulance waits and treatment times.

Weston General Hospital struggled during the winter, with its bed shortage the worst in the country as it operated at 100 per cent capacity for three months and 70 patients waited to be admitted on A&E trolleys for more than 12 hours in one month.

BMA South West regional council chair Dr Helena McKeown said the situation looks ‘set to worsen’.

She added: “Many services in the area are forced to operate in a state of year-round crisis, as the NHS reaches breaking point.

“Bed shortages, lack of mental health resources, underfunded social care and one of the worst winters on record have left services struggling to cope.”

North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible for planning healthcare services in the district. It is looking at plans to scale back Weston-super-Mare’s hospital’s A&E department, offer more planned surgeries and fewer emergency operations, and change its number of intensive care beds, in a bid to make it more sustainable.

A CCG spokesman said it is working with healthcare providers and North Somerset Council to manage demand and reduce pressure on services, particularly in A&E.

They said community healthcare is being increased, as the CCG is encouraging people to use out-of-hours GP services and the minor injuries unit in Clevedon where possible.

They added: “When people do require hospital admission, ensuring they can leave as soon as they are medically fit to do so is a high priority as it is better for patients and also helps to ensure beds are free for those who need them.”

Today (Thursday) the CCG is introducing a new integrated discharge service, which will support patients to return home with the help of community, hospital, social care and voluntary sector services.

MORE: ‘Difficult decisions’ ahead for healthcare – as area has one of the biggest overspends in the country

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