Healthy Weston programme update - August 2018

  • 14 August 2018


Work is continuing to look at developing new ways of organising health and care services in Weston-super-Mare and the surrounding area. Services need to better meet people’s needs in the future and respond to the changing health and care needs of our communities.

We are building on the good work to date but recognise we need to be bolder, and more creative if we are to deliver sustainable health and care services in and outside of hospital in the future.  

The widespread conversations late last year and earlier this year with patients, carers, members of the public, staff, and other key audience groups about the future of health and care services have been valuable and have helped us produce three programmes of work:

  • Improvements to services that can be implemented immediately or imminently.   For example, a new unified approach to GPs providing services to local care homes; standardising telephony and shared back office IT systems for GPs to increase resilience; and training primary and community staff in more advanced and standardised frailty assessments .
  • Ideas and suggestions requiring further work and a supporting business case to ensure they are viable and have appropriate funding and support. For example, establishing a mental health crisis café, better integration of children’s services, and social prescribing (a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services for example, volunteering, gardening befriending, or a range of sports).
  • Delivering clinically and financially sustainable services that best meet the needs of the local population for the long term.    This incudes identifying the services that Weston General Hospital is best placed to provide so it becomes a stronger, more focused hospital, and which services may be more effectively provided to local people by one of the other hospitals.

Over the summer, clinicans and health and care professioals are meeting to learn from how other parts of the country and the world deliver services in different ways to meet common challenges.  For example, an ageing population living with more long-term conditions; smaller hospitals needing to remain sustainable; and the challenges of rural and coastal locations. 

The clinicians will identify the opportunities for improving clinical outcomes, patient experience and more joined-up working between services and organisations across the whole of the Weston area.

They are looking at different areas of care, taking as headline themes those needing:

  • frailty and long-term conditions services
  • maternity and paediatric services
  • planned care services (for example, planned operations and treatments); and
  • urgent and emergency care. 

They are looking at a number of things such as the ideal journey a patient should take from the start to the end of their care and treatment from a clinical perspective; discussing ‘what good looks like’ in terms of clinical quality e.g. how and when diagnostic tests and interventions should be started; and how innovations in technology could support and enhance the delivery of services in new ways.

This will enable clinicans to develop a bespoke ‘model of care’ for our area to deliver improved health and care services in a sustainable way.  Their emerging thinking will be tested with the public, patients, staff, carers and other audience groups in the autumn.

A series of potential options for the way services could be delivered in the future will be developed.  From this, a short-list of options will become part of a ‘pre-consultation business case’ (describing the detailed workforce, activity, workforce, capital requirements etc to deliver them) for formal public consultation in 2019.

No decisions have yet been made on the future of services, and won’t be until after a full public consultation next year.  We will continue to provide updates on our work over the coming months and if you would like to be involved in the next phase of design and discussion in the early autumn, please email

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