Criticism of A&E changes ‘not surprising’ - CCG

There has been a 30 per cent rise in drink-related hospital admissions.

There has been a 30 per cent rise in drink-related hospital admissions. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A senior figure involved in Weston’s health system says he is not surprised at criticism over plans to close A&E overnight.

Dr Martin Jones. Picture: CCG

Dr Martin Jones. Picture: CCG - Credit: CCG

Dr Martin Jones, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)’s medical director, told the Mercury the proposal has been put forward because it ‘would be hard to maintain’ adequate staffing numbers.

The reason for the ‘temporary’ A&E overnight closure being introduced 18 months ago was to protect patient safety, due to a lack of staff, but successful recruitment strategies have seen those numbers increase, which had raised hopes the restrictions on opening hours would be lifted, not permanetly adopted.

Dr Jones said the ‘one-sized fits all model’ at the moment in Weston is more suited to the 1970s or 80s, whereas the NHS has a preference for larger regional hospitals instead.

He added: “Change is difficult and we all love the NHS.

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“We feel during that consultation a lot of the heat will settle down and we’ll have some proper conversations about why this is a good model.”

The first public meeting about the proposed changes to primary and acute care will be held on Tuesday. It will run from 6.30-8.30pm at the town’s Winter Gardens.

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Dr Jones urged people to have their say on the ideas put out under the Healthy Weston initiative.

An online survey can be completed at www.bit.ly/HealthyWestonSurvey

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