Protestors set to battle hospital's A&E closure
PUBLISHED: 08:00 01 July 2017
A picket line will be set up outside Weston General Hospital on Tuesday to protest against the temporary closure of its accident and emergency (A&E) department.
The A&E will be closed overnight, between 10pm and 8am, from Tuesday, forcing patients to instead seek help at hospitals in Bristol or Taunton.
The move follows a damning CQC report released in June which criticised the department, and said it was at risk of compromising patient safety.
Hospital bosses acknowledged difficulties recruiting specialist staff had seen the department under-manned, and have opted to close the department at night while they plot the next step.
However, critics have challenged the timing of the decision, which came just days after the General Election, and less than a week after the hospital denied rumours that it planned to close the A&E.
There has also been suspicion over the fact that a longer-term proposal to limit the department’s night-time operations was already being considered by Weston Area Health NHS Trust – though the trust insists this ‘temporary’ closure has no bearing on its longer-term plans, which will only be made after careful consideration of public views.
A peaceful protest against the temporary closure has been organised by Protect Our NHS and Weston Labour Party, to call for the Trist, which runs the Grange Road hospital, to keep it open 24 hours a day.
Recent Labour parliamentary candidate for Weston Tim Taylor said: “It could be many months before we see the return of any kind of 24-hour A&E service.
“It’s vital we keep up the pressure on the Trust and Weston MP John Penrose by continually raising the profile of this issue and its impact on local people.”
The protest will begin at 9am on Tuesday, and has been timed to coincide with the arrival of Trust board members for a scheduled meeting.