New action plan for hospital after investigation into coronavirus outbreak

Weston Hospital closed to new patients after a surge in coronavirus infections.

Weston Hospital closed to new patients after a surge in coronavirus infections. - Credit: Archant

An investigation into the coronavirus outbreak at Weston General Hospital has highlighted a number of areas for improvement in healthcare. 

Thirty-one patients died after contracting Covid-19 at the hospital, and an internal investigation carried out by the trust revealed the infection ‘may have’ been a factor in 18 of those deaths. 

A report from a Lessons Learned investigation, which focused on outbreak management at the hospital, has been published this week. 

The investigation, commissioned on behalf of the area’s Outbreak Control Team, highlighted shortcomings in the way data was collected and presented, meaning the emerging outbreak was not detected early enough. 

Recommendations made by the report include bringing the area’s health and care data together in a standardised way to improve understanding and early detection, and reviewing incident guidance to ensure a single system approach and accountability. 

The review also highlights some ‘excellent areas of practice’ including collective leadership and a robust immediate response to the hospital’s temporary closure – from May 25 to June 18. 

Rosi Shepherd, director of nursing and quality at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “When system-wide incidents occur, the most important thing alongside the initial response is that we learn, consolidate that learning, and improve. 

"Patient and public safety is our first priority. We will be embedding all the learning and recommendations into a single system action plan and taking these forward together.  

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"We are also keen to contribute to the wider understanding of outbreak management by sharing our learning with other areas of the country.” 

The action plan will be developed and overseen by the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Performance Oversight Group (POG).  

North Somerset Council’s executive member for health, Mike Bell, said: "Many families have lost loved ones through the Covid-19 pandemic and our thoughts are with them.  

“Any hospital-acquired infection death is one too many and my sympathies go out to families who have lost someone in these circumstances.  

“I welcome the report into the lessons learned from the Weston Hospital outbreak earlier in the year and look forward to working with health colleagues to see the recommendations implemented. 

“At a time when Covid-19 cases are on the rise again across the country, we should take this report as an important reminder of the tragic effect this virus can have, particularly on those in our community who are older or living with health conditions." 

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