Local NHS leaders have today (7 June) approved an eight-week public engagement exercise on proposed changes to some services at Weston General Hospital.
As well as preserving the current 14 hours a day, 7 days a week A&E service, the proposal for change would see thousands more planned procedures including hip, knee and cataract operations taking place locally each year.
The proposal for change has been developed by senior doctors, nurses, health and care staff with input from a public and patient reference group. It has been designed to secure a sustainable future for the hospital, and to ensure it can attract and retain the staff it needs in the long-term.
Under the proposal, people arriving at the hospital by ambulance (other than older people) would receive their initial assessment and treatment at Weston General Hospital, as is the case today. However, if they required an inpatient stay of longer than 24 hours, they would be transferred to a neighbouring hospital for their care, resulting in shorter stays and better outcomes.
The NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) gave the go-ahead for the next phase at its meeting today following the presentation of an Outline Business Case by senior clinicians.
A public engagement exercise will run from 20 June to 14 August to test and refine the proposal –ensuring its potential impacts have been considered from the perspective of local people and health and care staff. The eight-week period will also consider the ongoing approach to engagement as changes become part of regular service improvement.
Clinical Chair of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG, Dr Jonathan Hayes, said:
“This proposal moves us another step closer to our ambition for Weston General Hospital to lead the country as a pioneer for successful local hospitals - delivering high-quality care that meets people’s needs.
“Changes introduced in the first phase of the Healthy Weston programme have already made services at the hospital stronger and more joined-up, with closer working between local GP practices and hospital staff.
“This next phase is designed to build on this and ensure a dynamic future for Weston General Hospital at the heart of the community. We are looking forward to refining the proposal further with input from local people.”
Dr Andrew Hollowood, Weston General Hospital Medical Director, said:
“The proposal is real opportunity to secure a bright and sustainable future for Weston General Hospital.
“By changing how we treat people needing an emergency inpatient stay of longer than 24 hours, we can create the capacity to provide more of the services local people need and use most often. This includes undertaking thousands more additional planned procedures locally in Weston each year.
“I look forward to discussing the proposal with local people during the engagement exercise.”
Ways for people to have their say will be publicised widely, with full details published on the Healthy Weston website at https://bnssghealthiertogether.org.uk/healthy-weston-phase-2/