'There will be no going back' - senior councillor disappointed with A&E night closure

PUBLISHED: 14:11 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:11 02 October 2019

Cllr Mike Bell is not happy with the decision to axe Weston General Hospital's overnight A&E service on a permanent basis. Pictures: North Somerset Council/Mark Atherton

Cllr Mike Bell is not happy with the decision to axe Weston General Hospital's overnight A&E service on a permanent basis. Pictures: North Somerset Council/Mark Atherton

North Somerset Council/Mark Atherton

A senior North Somerset Council figure is 'disappointed' a decision to shut Weston General Hospital's A&E permanently at night was not halted.

Deputy leader Mike Bell sits on the council's health overview and scrutiny panel (HOSP) which asked Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on Monday to hold fire on adopting the Healthy Weston proposals.

However, the CCG passed them yesterday (Tuesday), of which A&E opening hours were a part.

Cllr Bell said: "I'm very disappointed that NHS managers have voted through the permanent overnight closure of Weston A&E.

"There is a lot to support in their plans for the future of our hospital and I am grateful for the efforts they have made to engage with the council and explain their ideas to local residents.

MORE: A&E could be closed completely amid fears over training of junior doctors.

"However, many decades of 24/7 dedicated accident and emergency department support for Weston will stop. There will be no going back.

"I am particularly disappointed that they have pressed ahead with this despite the fact that the planned merger of Weston and the University Hospitals Bristol trusts offers the chance to recruit and retain more staff and address safety concerns.

"It doesn't make sense to ignore that, unless your objective is to simply cut costs."

The CCG says its ideas are the best solution to the challenges facing Weston's health system, adding the case for change was all too apparent.

HOSP on Monday voted to progress plans to seek Government intervention, if the CCG proceeded.

However, that failed to prevent the CCG unanimously approving its proposals at the Winter Gardens yesterday.

Cllr Bell said: "I know that North Somerset Council's HOSP will meet again with the CCG in the next couple of weeks to seek further answers on these plans.

"Whatever happens, it is important that the CCG and the council work together as active partners in improving healthcare in Weston and North Somerset."

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