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Proposed changes to some services at Weston General Hospital take next step forward

Last updated: 01/06/2022

Proposed changes to some services at Weston General Hospital will take an important step forward when an outline ‘case for change’ is considered by local NHS leaders on 7 June.

More planned procedures – such as cataract, hip and knee operations – would take place in Weston General Hospital each year under the proposal for change, which has been designed by senior doctors, nurses and other health professionals.

As well as preserving the current 14 hours a day, 7 days a week A&E service, two on-site ‘centres of excellence’ would be created for surgery and older people’s care. Additionally, an expanded range of ‘same day’ emergency care services would allow more people to be assessed and treated at the hospital without the need to be admitted to a ward.

Under the proposal, people arriving at the hospital by ambulance (other than older people) would receive their initial 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 larger neighbouring hospital, resulting in shorter stays and better outcomes.

Overall, the proposal would mean more local people could be treated closer to home, while also helping the hospital to attract and retain the staff it needs in the future.

If the Outline Business Case is approved by the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG’s) Governing Body on 7 June, an eight-week public engagement period will commence from 20 June 2022. A recent survey of almost 900 people showed broad support for the changes from public and staff.

Weston General Hospital Medical Director, Dr Andrew Hollowood, said:

“This proposal is a 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.

“Subject to Governing Body agreement, the eight-week engagement will help us to test and refine the proposal – ensuring the changes have been thought through in terms of their full impact on our population and staff.”

Georgie Bigg, Chair of Healthwatch Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, said:

“This is an important milestone in the Healthy Weston programme work to improve health services in the Weston area. We look forward to working with health partners to ensure that local peoples’ views continue to be gathered and reflected in the developing proposals.

We will be encouraging everyone to take the opportunity to consider the plans and share their feedback over the important next phase, the eight-week public engagement exercise between June and August.”

Papers for the Governing Body meeting including the proposal can be viewed on the CCG website at https://bnssgccg.nhs.uk/events/governing-body-meeting-7-june-2022/162/