Weston-super-Mare Town Council pledge to fight for 24 hour A&E
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 August 2019
Weston Town Council has pledged to fight the continued overnight closure of Weston General Hospital's A&E department.
At a full council meeting on Monday, Conservative councillor Roger Bailey tabled a motion for the town clerk to write to Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to 'register the council's 'continued frustration with the protracted A&E overnight closure'.
The motion also requested North Somerset Council use its authority to refer the matter to the Secretary of State for Health.
He said: "I'm angry at the way the CCG has treated us.
"There are towns with hospitals smaller than ours which have an A&E 24/7."
An amendment was then tabled by Labour's Helen Thornton for the motion to be rewritten to further clarify the council's position and demands.
It included requesting proposals to make the overnight closure of the A&E permanent be postponed until after the hospital's planned merger with University Hospitals Bristol, to allow for a solution to the current recruitment problems, and that the CCG seeks advice from the National Centre for Rural Health and Care, whose remit includes coastal towns.
And a row over Weston Mr John Penrose's efforts to fight for A&E broke out.
Cllr Thornton said: "We do not believe John Penrose, other than to write to the CCG, has been supporting the reopening of the 24/7 A&E in Weston and has been very quiet for a very long time."
However, councillor Peter Fox argued Mr Penrose should still be mentioned in the motion as he did write to the CCG in March about trialling a consultants' plan to retain 24/7 A&E.
He said: "This is bigger than party politics, the CCG are going to rail road us if we don't put our heads together."
Cllr Alan Peak said: "Two years it's been temporarily closed. What is John Penrose doing. It's the biggest issue in Weston.
Cllr Thornton added: "John Penrose has every opportunity to talk to those in power to try to get it reversed and he has not done anything."
Deputy mayor James Clayton said: "Save Weston A&E has invited Mr Penrose to every occasion and he has declined. Why?
Councillor Peter Crew argued: "This is far more important than worrying about the words.
"We need to get this message through to whoever needs to read it."