MP's concern at closure of Weston Hospital's A&E
MP has expressed his concern at the decision to temporarily close
the Accident and Emergency department at Weston General Hospital
overnight because it cannot find enough senior doctors to staff
comes after a health watchdog rated Weston-super-Mare's General
Hospital's emergency care as "inadequate".
Quality Commission (CQC) report warned "significant improvements"
must be made. The
hospital's trust said it will close its A&E unit between 10pm
and 8am from 4th July.
MP James Heappey, right, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Whilst it
is pleasing to see the work of so many staff at Weston Hospital
recognised in the many improvements identified by the Care Quality
Commission, it is hugely concerning that the A&E must close
overnight until more sustainable levels of staffing can be achieved."
"Local health chiefs have reassured me that A&E admissions
at Weston from residents in Somerset - as opposed to North Somerset
- average around four per night and that this can easily be covered
by Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton. I also understand that serious
cases that require an ambulance are already mostly directed to the
larger hospitals in Bristol or Taunton."
"Nonetheless, Weston Hospital is popular with those of us who
live in the north western corner of Somerset and so the A&E
must re-open as soon as possible. I will be supporting Weston's
MP, John Penrose, in raising the ongoing challenge we face in clinician
recruitment for Somerset's NHS with Ministers. It is frustrating
that yet again, we have the cash but cannot recruit the staff to
spend it on."
director Dr Peter Collins described it as "a very difficult
decision" but said "it is our ability to recruit that
is our challenge, not our ability to care".
added: "A temporary overnight closure gives us time to work
with local GPs, community services, social care colleagues and neighbouring
hospitals to strengthen, redesign and rebuild our urgent and emergency
care service in north Somerset."
an inspection in March, the CQC identified a lack of support for
the emergency department from other departments and a lack of senior
doctors, which meant a "critical over-reliance" on locum
also found problems with the flow of patients in the hospital, leading
to overcrowding and patients waiting too long to be admitted.
Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, described Weston Area
Health NHS Trust's "continuing difficulties" in recruiting
senior medical staff as "a matter of concern".
added: "We are fully aware that the trust will need to work
with commissioners and other neighbouring providers to ensure that
it is properly meeting the needs of people who live in north Somerset."
Trust said it has experienced "severe challenges" with
recruiting and retaining senior doctors to staff the A&E department
and "needs to find new ways to address this".