Weston General Hospital A&E: 'It's essential closure is temporary' - MP John Penrose

PUBLISHED: 10:45 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:11 14 June 2017

Weston General Hospital.

Weston General Hospital.

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Weston-super-Mare's MP has said it is 'essential' the closure of Weston General Hospital's A&E department overnight remains temporary, as the candidates who ran against him in the General Election say they are 'appalled' by the decision.

John Penrose.John Penrose.

Today (Wednesday) the hospital announced its A&E department will temporarily close from 10pm to 8am each day from July 4.

The news came after the Care Quality Commission found the A&E department is not safe and rated the hospital’s emergency care services as ‘inadequate’.

But one councillor has accused NHS bosses of ‘deliberately misleading the public’ surrounding the closures, after just last week it denied rumours of a night-time closure in the department.

When the closure is in place patients will either be taken to hospitals in Bristol or Taunton by ambulance or will have to seek treatment elsewhere. Additional ambulances will be made available in the town.

Weston’s MP John Penrose, who was re-elected on June 8, said: “It’s essential this night-time A&E closure is only temporary, as a way of re-setting the department so it can improve and re-open as soon as possible.

“The hospital leadership have promised me that’s what’s planned, but I will be speaking to other regional and national health chiefs today to insist they provide whatever the hospital needs to get this vital part of Weston’s medical services back on its feet as soon as possible.”

Labour’s Tim Taylor – who came second to John Penrose in the General Election – said he will be campaigning for the decision to be reversed.

He added: “We received assurances less than a week ago that the A&E department wasn’t under immediate threat and today we have received this terrible news for local people. This does not reflect well on NHS management. As Weston’s population grows it needs more health services not fewer.

“This decision could put lives at risk.”

Mike Bell, who was the Liberal Democrat candidate in the General Election and is a North Somerset councillor, said: “I appreciate the need to respond to the CQC inspection but I am appalled that this decision has been announced.

“The CCG and Trust are currently going through consultation on possible overnight closure – a process rendered meaningless by this decision.

“However, worse is the fact that only a few days ago the Trust confirmed to the Weston Mercury, in response to public and staff concerns, that there were no plans for overnight closure. I am deeply concerned that NHS managers deliberately misled the public on this point.”

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