Weston healthcare system needs changing, says CCG

Chief executive James Rimmer.

Chief executive James Rimmer. - Credit: Archant

Weston General Hospital faces making losses of £22million per year by 2024, unless an overhaul of services is carried out.

That is the stark warning from NHS chiefs as they release a report explaining the need to review the public’s future health needs.

Over the past year, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been looking at key areas such as the hospital’s emergency care and maternity wards, plus GP care, in its Healthy Weston programme.

One of its primary concerns is how varied the ease of accessing services – such as an appointment with a doctor – is.

In the coming weeks the public will get to speak to staff at roadshows about the potential changes. Exact ideas as to what is planned will not be presented until next year.

More care is given to elderly patients in North Somerset than the national average, especially at hospital.

Weston Area Health NHS Trust chief executive James Rimmer said: “The future of Weston General Hospital is an important local issue and we have been discussing with staff, partners and people about how it can continue to play a vital and central role in delivering top quality healthcare to the local community.”

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Staff levels are a significant problem at the hospital. In March, one in four nursing or consultant posts were unfilled – an issue which prompted the ongoing ‘temporary’ overnight A&E closure 16 months ago and the CCG says the problem needs addressing.

It says it needs to be aware of the financial side too, with more than half of its money going on hospital care, when 90 per cent of NHS services provided are in the community or through a local GP.

The CCG’s vision talks of a ‘vibrant’ hospital in the future, but one which is ‘more efficient’, stating losses of £14million would be racked up, even if the trust was the best in the country in every discipline.

Its medical director, Martin Jones, said: “Healthy Weston is our clear and compelling vision for the future of health and care services that will meet the needs of local people and this document sets out clearly why change is needed.

“As a local GP, I am committed to making sure we deliver the very best services for the local community,

“Everyone involved is working hard on identifying potential options for the future shape of healthcare services that we will formally consult on in 2019 before any final decisions are made.

“It is really important people get involved during the consultation.”