'Exceptional' staff praised as hospital fights winter pressures

PUBLISHED: 15:53 09 January 2018

James Rimmer, chief executive of Weston Area Health NHS Trust.

James Rimmer, chief executive of Weston Area Health NHS Trust.

Archant

Weston General Hospital’s staff have been labelled as ‘exceptional’ for the way in which they have coped despite immense pressure in recent weeks.

James Rimmer, chief executive of Weston Area Health NHS Trust (WAHT) today (Tuesday) told the Mercury the hospital has faced a tough few weeks with a large number of patients using its A&E and other services.

But he said: “The staff have been exceptional.

“Sickness is hitting everyone but they have been exceptional and I cannot praise them enough.”

The hospital – like many around the country – has faced a large influx of patients in recent weeks.

Outbreaks of norovirus have also restricted wards available too.

A&E remains closed overnight but wards have been reconfigured to try to increase the number of beds available.

Phil Walmsley, director of operations, said: “Publicly, it is clear that the NHS is struggling.”

The hospital decided to shut its A&E four hours early on Christmas Day because of staffing shortages.

Medical director Peter Collins said: “At one stage staffing was so precarious it was almost closed even longer.”

However, the trust said Christmas Day is traditionally its quietest day of the year and the impact of the closure was minimal.

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