Decision on Weston A&E’s permanent overnight closure could be delayed

Save Weston A&E protesters gathered outside Weston Town Hall before the meeting. Picture: MARK AT

Save Weston A&E protesters gathered outside Weston Town Hall before the meeting. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

The Secretary of State could review plans to permanently close Weston General Hospital’s A&E department overnight as councillors told health bosses to halt their plans.

North Somerset Council's health overview and scrutiny panel (HOSP) has recommended today (Monday) the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group's (BNSSG CCG) delays a decision on Healthy Weston proposals until it can provide the panel with 'further clarity on the system-wide strategy for urgent and emergency care and the long-term plan'.

MORE: Health bosses to vote on closing A&E at night permanently.

HOSP will call an extraordinary, informal meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the CCG's ideas.

The panel voted by majority that full council should refer the proposals to the Secretary of State at either its November of January meeting, unless the decision is delayed by the CCG.

The CCG wants to keep A&E open from 8am-10pm, seven days per week, which will make the temporary overnight closure of the A&E, which has been in place since June 2017, permanent.

The A&E department would be staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of hospital and primary care clinicians working together.

Robert Woolley, chief executive of University Hospitals Bristol, said its proposed merger with Weston Area Health NHS Trust, which is due on April 1, could be at risk if the Healthy Weston programme is delayed and Weston General Hospital may not be able to support itself.

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He said: "A delay of three to four months would be highly damaging to proposals to the merger.

"We are committed to creating a much stronger, integrated primary care service across Weston."

The CCG will host its governing body meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Winter Gardens, where a final decision on the future of the A&E was expected to be made.

A protest by campaigners against a night-time A&E closure took place outside the Town Hall this afternoon, and a second is planned ahead of the CCG's gathering tomorrow.

* For more reaction, pick up a copy of Thursday's Mercury.