'No changes planned for A&E without public consultation' - Weston General Hospital
PUBLISHED: 10:27 07 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:40 07 June 2017
Weston General Hospital has quashed rumours its accident and emergency (A&E) department will run a reduced overnight service from July.
North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – which decides which services are and are not offered at the hospital – has recently finished an eight-week process where it asked for public opinion on four ideas for changes at the Grange Road site.
The ideas surround the hospital’s emergency care, operating theatres and critical care.
One of the ideas is looking at whether the hospital to run a scaled back A&E service between 10pm and 8am, which will mean it does not require emergency doctor coverage 24 hours a day.
The change would mean some emergency patients are sent directly to hospitals in Taunton and Bristol by ambulance, rather than being treated in Weston.
This week rumours have been rife the changes will come in to place in July, but the hospital has told the Mercury this is not the case.
A spokesman said: “It’s well known that for the last few years our A&E service has been fragile, which we continue to address as best we can, working closely with our staff, commissioners and regulators.
“We are expecting the CQC to publish their latest full inspection report of all our services shortly and we will respond to their findings and recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of our patients.
“We are also working with our commissioners and local people to develop detailed plans for future services at the hospital. The recent eight-week engagement with patients and the public is part of this.
“We are expecting to share the findings of the public engagement activity in the next couple of weeks and no long-term changes will be made to services at the hospital without full consultation with patients and the public.”
The Mercury understands a report has been compiled following the eight-week public engagement, and is due to go to the hospital’s sustainability board for discussion in the next few days.
NHS leaders will then look at the four ideas, and people’s reactions to them, to come up with a plan for the hospital’s future. Once this plan has been worked out, a firm proposal will be made and if it is deemed to bring with it a significant change for patients a 12-week consultation process will begin, where staff, patients, and the public will once again be asked for their views.