Plans to shut A&E overnight not a done deal, says medical director


- Credit: Archant

Health leaders have stressed its consultations on permanently closing Weston General Hospital’s A&E at night are not a ‘tick-box exercise’ ahead of downgrading its status.

In March the Mercury reported the NHS is looking at further changes to emergency treatment offered in Weston, with the creation of a lesser urgent treatment centre to replace A&E among the long-term ideas.

With the public being consulted only on A&E opening hours at the moment, campaigners fighting that measure expressed concern over the behind-the-scenes suggestions.

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning (CCG), which is leading the consultation and received the senate’s report, said it is not a ‘tick-box exercise’.

Its medical director, Dr Martin Jones, said: “The CCG has not yet made up its mind about the current proposals and will not do so until all the responses to our consultation have been considered.

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“We continue to work with a group of clinicians from across our system to consider all the feedback and ideas that come from local people and organisations. This includes working closely with the group of hospital consultants from Weston who have put forward an alternative model.

“Chapter seven of the consultation document explains that, while critical to stabilising Weston in the short term, the model being consulted on currently is not sufficient to respond to all of the challenges set out in the case for change.

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“These challenges include a changing population, variations in care and access to general practice, consistently meeting national clinical standards, including workforce availability, and making sure services are sustainable and affordable for the future.

“A wide range of options have been set out and discussed with local people, clinicians and councillors over the past year and more, and these were reviewed in the report from the South West Clinical Senate.”

The consultation on ratifying the temporary A&E night-time closure, which has been in place for 18 months, will end on May 24.

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