‘Greater clarity’ needed on long-term plan for Weston General Hospital as ‘widespread misconception’ on proposals

PUBLISHED: 13:00 10 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:59 10 July 2017

Healthwatch North Somerset has released a report on public reaction to North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group's plan for Weston General Hospital.

Healthwatch North Somerset has released a report on public reaction to North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group's plan for Weston General Hospital.

Archant

Weston General Hospital serves more than 200,000 people, but just one per cent of them made comments on four planned changes for its future.

North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is in charge of what services the hospital offers, spent eight weeks asking for public opinion on four ideas to change surgical, A&E and critical care services at Weston’s hospital.

The ideas include:

Scaling back the number of emergency operations at Weston General Hospital.
Offering more pre-planned, non-emergency surgery in Weston-super-Mare.

Offering a reduced service in the A&E at night, which would see emergency cases sent elsewhere.
Changing the number of critical care and intensive care beds at Weston General Hospital.

The A&E has already been temporarily closed overnight on safety grounds, but the CCG’s long-term plan is for it to remain open 24 hours a day but with a scaled-back service at night.

The CCG received around 2,000 comments, and Healthwatch North Somerset has just published a report collated them.

It says: “One key concern… was the closure of Weston General Hospital A&E.”

It goes on to say people are concerned about ambulance cover, staff recruitment and how other A&E departments will cope if Weston closes.

Healthwatch has recommended the CCG provides ‘greater clarity’ on the four ideas and how they will work in practice, and its report said there was ‘widespread misconception’ that the A&E was ‘at threat of closing completely’.

The CCG will now form a formal proposal for the hospital’s future, which will go in to more detail on each idea ahead of a public consultation period.

READ MORE: Weston General Hospital’s A&E closes temporarily overnight – NHS bosses quizzed on closure.

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