MP tell protesters to ‘back off’ and support Weston hospital plans

John Penrose wants campaigners to back the Healthy Weston proposal.

John Penrose wants campaigners to back the Healthy Weston proposal. - Credit: Archant

Weston’s MP wants protesters to ‘stop playing politics with patients’ health’, as he backs revised Healthy Weston plans.

John Penrose has welcomed the scheme looking at the future of Weston General Hospital and local healthcare, which has been backed by GPs, its doctors and Weston Area Health Trust's board.

The plan, which includes ideas proposed by consultants, involves making the temporary changes to A&E opening hours permanent and adding GPs to the emergency team.

More: Two thirds concerned by Weston General Hospital plans.

The A&E will be open from 8am-10pm but GPs and paramedics will be able to admit patients to a hospital bed outside of those hours.

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG) is seeking NHS' South West Clinical Senate's approval.

Weston would also be given an upgraded 24-hour GP service for non-emergencies.

Mr Penrose said: "Weston is a growing town, so a bigger hospital with 24/7 emergency admissions, and 24/7 non-emergency treatment from an upgraded GP service all make sense.

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"But local Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green politicians are playing politics, rather than accepting doctors know best.

"They want to send non-emergency patients to the hospital's accident and emergency department in the middle of the night, rather than seeing a GP.

"Weston's message to them is simple: if the doctors support the new plan, why do you think you know better?

"Stop playing politics with local patients' health. Back off Weston hospital, and back the plan."

The Save Weston A&E campaign group has hit back at Mr Penrose, urging him to speak up for Weston and oppose the 'downgrading' of the hospital.

A spokesman said: "It's disappointing to see John Penrose fail to speak up for Weston again on this issue - 69 per cent of residents who responded to the Healthy Weston consultation opposed the continued overnight A&E closure.

"Conservative councillors on both North Somerset and Weston town councils also oppose the closure, meaning John Penrose has different views to his local members.

"The Labour, Lib Dem and Green parties have put aside party politics to campaign for local people under the Save Weston A&E banner.

"This isn't about playing politics, it's about trying to preserve and improve health services for the people of Weston and the surrounding area.

"John Penrose has changed his position several times on this issue. He initially supported plans to reopen the A&E before welcoming the CCG plans in January 2019.

"In March he supported the consultants' proposals, before supporting the CCG again today after six months of silence on the issue.

"Even at this late stage we urge John Penrose to join the other political parties and his Conservative councillor colleagues to speak up for Weston and oppose the downgrading of the A&E and wider emergency services."