Update on the work progressing to improve health and care services in Weston-super-Mare and surrounding area

  • 19 April 2018


Today, health leaders have shared the progress made in looking at how existing services can work better together to provide better joined-up care for patients and how some services could be delivered differently in the future to make this happen.

This builds on nearly 5 months of listening to the views of and working with many local people, patients, staff and other stakeholders to test and refine the ideas set out in Healthy Weston: joining up services for better care in the Weston area, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG’s vision to improve health and care services.

There are now a number of ideas about how services can be improved  – also called ‘service design’ ideas. It is important to stress that these are not final proposals and no decisions to make significant permanent changes to the way services are delivered have been taken.

Over the coming months, further work will continue to refine these ideas, test their feasibility and develop detailed proposals.  These proposals will describe how services can be organized differently to deliver the Healthy Weston vision for joined up care that is affordable, meets the changing needs of the local population in a sustainable way for years to come and reflects the views of local people.

A further update on progress will be provided during the summer and the next phase of this work is expected to be completed by the autumn 2018. 

Where a proposal entails a significant change to the way services are currently organised and delivered, a full public consultation will be undertaken.

Key updates on progress made

Creating an integrated frailty service for older people at Weston General Hospital

We want health and social care, voluntary and community services to work together on the site of the hospital to prevent unplanned admissions to hospital whenever possible and to help people get home as quickly as possible when they do go into hospital unexpectedly.

Joining up GPs and care homes

We want to put in place a more consistent and responsive relationship between GPs and care homes, enabling frail and older people to be treated and supported in their care home rather than being taken to hospital for treatment.

Providing better joined up services for children and young people (including complex needs and young people’s mental health)

We want to bring together community and acute hospital paediatric services at one location so that children can access joined up services in one place rather than travelling to multiple locations.

New ways of supporting people with complex mental health problems

We want to ensure those in Weston with the most complex needs have targeted and joined up support e.g. through things like access to a crisis café as a safe, supportive and therapeutic place for those in need, helping to reduce inappropriate attendance at A&E.

Securing the future of local maternity services

We want to provide a service that enables mothers to have their babies locally that is sustainable and make best use of NHS resources. We have been working with neighbouring hospitals in Bristol and Somerset to look at how maternity services can best be provided to women in Weston and the surrounding areas in the future. 

We are considering several ideas that will enable local women to choose to have their baby locally.  These include:

  • A comprehensive community service with home births and after care support provided in the home
  • Alongside the option of a home birth, the option for giving birth in a midwife led unit in the hospital 24/7 
  • Partnership working across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to support local obstetrics care wherever possible.

 GPs working together to target diabetes

We know that developing diabetes can lead to other diseases such as cancer and stroke. GPs in Weston are developing a lifestyle programme that will help to support local people to staying well and to reduce the numbers of people developing diabetes.

The future for A&E at Weston

Together with Weston Area Health NHS Trust, which runs Weston Hospital, we want to make sure people in North Somerset have access to safe, high quality, sustainable urgent and emergency care services, as close to home as possible.

 We are looking at alternative ways of offering care locally to patients traditionally seen in A&E, and also looking at the types of urgent and emergency services best provided by Weston Hospital or by a neighbouring hospital. This also supports work being taken forward by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire looking at urgent and emergency care provision across the area. 

 As part of this we are doing further work on the following ideas:

  • Providing A&E services at Weston General Hospital for 14 hours a day including improved services for frail older people, for vulnerable groups in our community and for children and young people.
  • Introducing a new service at night at Weston General Hospital to enable most emergency patients to be admitted directly onto a ward at Weston General Hospital for treatment rather than needing to go through A&E. This is called “direct admissions pathways”.

  • A return to A&E services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Weston General Hospital.

Making best use of Weston General Hospital

We want to ensure Weston provides clinically and financially viable services that local people need most by providing a variety of common and routine planned operations for local people to access. E.g. expanded orthopaedic care, comprehensive ophthalmology service, outpatient cancer treatment.

The work that is currently assessing the benefits of a potential merger between University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and Weston Area Health NHS Trust, will also feed into these proposals.


Aims of Healthy Weston

Delivering Healthy Weston will enable us to support people to stay well, deliver more care closer to home in a joined-up way across different services, and when people do need specialist hospital treatment, to provide the highest quality care and then help patients get home again quickly, as soon as they are well enough.

It will also help us to meet the current and future needs of local people, respond to the increasing and changing demand on services, reduce unacceptable variations in health and people’s life chances across our area.

It will help ensure our services are both clinically and financially sustainable by making sure they can deliver to national quality standards and are affordable within the available funding