Weston General Hospital’s A&E future still unclear despite ‘improving picture’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 October 2018

James Rimmer, chief executive of Weston General Hospital.

James Rimmer, chief executive of Weston General Hospital.

Archant

It remains unknown when Weston-super-Mare’s A&E department will reopen 24/7, but its top boss is confident ‘good improvements’ are being made.

Weston Area Health Trust (WAHT) chief executive James Rimmer has told of an ‘improving picture’ at Weston General Hospital’s emergency department, which has been operating at reduced hours for more than a year.

A ‘temporary’ closure of the department between 10pm-8am has been in place since July 2017 after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) slated the service, plus a shortage of senior doctors.

Mr Rimmer faced questions from North Somerset Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel on September 20 at Weston Town Hall, where he told councillors there has been progress with the A&E department, but could not offer an update on when it will reopen.

He said: “The department remains closed overnight and our recruitment continues.

“With consultants, the top-level doctors, we have made limited progress, but with the middle grade we have made very good progress, and we think that is key to getting more consultants on board.

“By the end of the year we should have a full compliment of middle-grade doctors.

“They are coming from overseas so they will take a little while to bed in.”

Mr Rimmer conceded the hospital’s recruitment struggles – which he said have been exacerbated by Brexit uncertainty reducing the appeal for European workers – have lead to a ‘disproportionate’ dependence on agency staff to plug shortages.

He said this has also contributed to a ‘challenged financial position’ – with the hospital required to run a deficit of no more than £12.4million a year.

The chief executive said achieving that will be ‘tight’, with the deficit so far this financial year calculated at £4.4million.

Clevedon South councillor Bob Garner called for ‘more openness’ and said there were examples of ‘misleading notices’ released by WAHT, but his claims were refuted by Mr Rimmer.

The chief executive also updated the panel on the merger of WAHT with University Hospitals Bristol.

He said: “The partnership is alive and well. We are working towards a merger in October 2019.

“We will work together to strengthen our services.”

The hospital meanwhile expects an inspection by the CQC in the not too distant future.

More from Weston Mercury

A Cheddar school has been praised for its ‘shared vision for care and inclusion’ by an education watchdog.

Read more

Two of the West Country’s top performing choral groups will bring their melodic tunes to Weston this Christmas.

Read more

Parking in Burnham-on-Sea and Cheddar will be free on the two Saturdays before Christmas.

Read more

A Somerset village has been awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds to create a community hub after enduring months of problems.

Read more

A plan to build futuristic magnet train between Weston and Bristol has been proposed to avoid the creation of a ‘dormitory town the size of Wells’.

Read more

A blue plaque commemorating one of Weston’s most famous architects will be dedicated this week.

Read more

More than 7,500 hoax calls were made to police and ambulance services in Somerset over the past three years.

Read more

Burnham’s Princess Theatre is set to get a makeover after the town council’s bid for a major Government grant was approved.

Read more
08:06

A seven-year-old boy was rescued from the mud at Brean after he became stuck while out exploring with his family.

Read more
Brean

Replacement play equipment at a Worle park will finally be installed next year.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 7°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists