Campaign group claims Healthy Weston consultation is ‘not fit for purpose’

Protest by Save Weston A&E, outside the CCG meeting being held at the Royal Hotel, back in February.

Protest by Save Weston A&E, outside the CCG meeting being held at the Royal Hotel, back in February. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

The consultation into future GP care and hospital services in Weston is ‘not fit for purpose’, according to campaigners.

Save Weston A&E believes there are not enough hospital doctors, GPs and nurses being recruited ready for the new model which will come into effect from October.

Weston A&E campaigners have studied Healthy Weston - Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG) plan to alter GP and hospital services.

More: Final days to comment on plans to change health system in Weston.

A spokesman said: "The Healthy Weston consultation is currently not fit for purpose. Nowhere near enough hospital doctors, GPs and nurses are being recruited to ensure the new model is ready to start in October 2019 and the proposed merger with University Hospitals Bristol Trust has now been put back by six months.

"Until this merger takes place, we do not see how the recruitment issues will be resolved.

"The process should, therefore, be put on hold and proper public consultation should only start when the project is capable of being realised, and in the meantime they should look at reversing the two-year 'temporary' overnight closure of our A&E."

More: Reopening A&E 24/7 in Weston 'not feasible' - CCG.

The group has questioned the statistics and methodology presented by the CCG and its commitment to the people of Weston in its 41-page response to the proposal.

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Campaign group member, Helen Thornton, said: "We examined six specific areas including staffing and vacancy rates at the hospital, patient numbers, travel issues and the possibility of expanding our hospital to meet the needs of the growing community.

"In all these areas we concluded the CCG needed to answer serious questions about its statistics and its approach."

Save Weston A&E will hold a march and rally in the Italian Gardens on July 6 at noon to inform people about the consultation.

Further ideas to alter hospital services include scrapping the medical assessment unit with critical and anaesthetic care facilities and A&E being phased out in favour of an urgent treatment centre. These ideas are not confirmed and were not consulted this time around.

The CCG has been carrying out public consultations across North Somerset for the past four months and a final decision is expected at the start of October.

A spokeman for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: "The Healthy Weston consultation was approved by NHS England and the South West Clinical Senate; a group of independent experts.

"We believe that the proposals - which were developed by local senior doctors and other health professionals - would improve the quality of effectiveness of local services, thereby better meeting the needs of the whole population.

"However, we have held a rigorous and robust consultation to ensure everyone had opportunities to learn about the proposals, ask questions and make alternative proposals.

"We are now in the processes of analysing the feedback and suggestions we have received from a wide range of patients, public and members of staff during the consultation exercise.

"In October, a decision making business case for Healthy Weston will be presented to the governing body of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG for approval.

"The timeline for delivery of any changes to services in Weston has not yet been decided, because they will depend on what decisions are made in October, and will be supported by a clear delivery plan."