A&E overnight closure remains despite CQC finding ‘significant improvements’

Chief executive James Rimmer.

Chief executive James Rimmer. - Credit: Archant

Significant improvements to day-time operations at Weston General Hospital’s A&E have been recognised by health inspectors.

Eighteen months on from a scathing report and safety warning, Weston Area Health NHS Trust (WAHT) has been praised for its progress in improving healthcare.

A reduction in waiting times has been noted, although the Care Quality Commission (CQC) accepts the changes have come while the A&E remains shut overnight.

Mary Cridge, head of hospital inspection for the South West, said: “It is clear that there has been a significant improvement for patients attending Weston General Hospital during the day time.

“Previously we found there were not enough staff to meet patients’ needs. We have now found staffing and systems to manage the patient flow throughout the department and strengthen the management of risk.

“People are not waiting so long. The trust has improved its performance against the national standard which requires 95% of patients being treated within four hours.

“The trust must continue the good work and we will continue to monitor services closely and return in the future to check on progress.”

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The CQC visited in March 2017 and its negative findings – coupled with a lack of staff to safely cover shifts – led to A&E’s closure overnight in July that year.

WAHT says there is still no planned date to end the ‘temporary’ measure, with no news expected until after the festive period.

Its chief executive, James Rimmer, said: “This is very good news and reflects the excellent work done by staff at Weston to improve patients’ experience in our emergency department.

“The whole hospital has changed the way patients are guided and supported through the hospital, we have improved staffing arrangements and reduced waiting and queueing.

“The temporary overnight closure of the hospital’s A&E department remains in place.

“No final decisions to make significant permanent changes to the way services are delivered have been taken and won’t be until later in 2019 after a formal public consultation in early 2019.”