Weston General Hospital’s chief executive speaks on changes to A&E

Chief executive James Rimmer.

Chief executive James Rimmer. - Credit: Archant

The chief executive of Weston Area Health NHS Trust (WAHT) has spoken candidly to the Mercury about ‘crucial’ changes taking place at Weston General Hospital.

The hospital, in Grange Road.

The hospital, in Grange Road. - Credit: Archant

North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – which is responsible for deciding which services the Weston-super-Mare hospital offers – is looking at four changes at the hospital.

The ideas include scaling back its A&E service at night, so some patients will be taken directly to hospitals in Bristol and Taunton between 10pm and 8am, offering fewer emergency surgeries and increasing pre-planned operations, and changing the make up of its critical care beds.

WAHT runs the Grange Road hospital and its chief executive James Rimmer has spoken to the Mercury about the proposed changes. He said: “Like much of the NHS, Weston General Hospital is under pressure. Demand on our services continues to increase and we’re seeing higher numbers of frail and acutely unwell patients.

“These proposals cover a number of our services and aim to leave the hospital better able to continue into the future.

“However, there will inevitably be changes for some patients. For example, under the plans, we would continue to have a 24-hour A&E department, as that’s crucial to the health system, but we may change the way we staff it overnight. This will affect just five per cent of those who attend A&E.

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“We’re considering transferring more cases of emergency surgery to our three nearby hospitals, which would see small numbers of people being impacted.

Weston General Hospital.

Weston General Hospital. - Credit: Archant

“By transferring some more emergency care to other hospitals, it would free up capacity to focus on developing our elective care, including joint operations, cataracts and hysterectomies – the type of operations in greater demand from our population.

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“These ideas are about doing things differently to give patients an even better service, though nothing has been set in stone.

“All of our partners agree our hospital is a crucial, long-term part of NHS services in the region. Yet, while the future is secure, we do need to make some changes. The weight of increasing demand on our services means we cannot carry on as we are.”

Comment on the changes via www.northsomersetccg.nhs.uk/wgh-engagement, wgh.engagement@nhs.net or 01275 546702

Want to know more about the hospital changes? Read this: Q&A – NHS bosses answer Mercury readers’ questions on changes at Weston General Hospital

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