CCGs response to fourth Weston Board meeting since the temporary overnight closure of A&E

JOINT PRESS STATEMENT:  Weston Area Health NHS Trust and Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCGs in response to the fourth Weston Board meeting since the temporary overnight closure of A&E at Weston 


Today Tuesday 6 February 2018 in addition to daily monitoring that takes place, the Board of Weston Area Health NHS Trust has conducted its standard comprehensive monthly review of the impact and management of the temporary overnight closure of A&E.


The A&E at Weston General Hospital is open as normal between 8am – 10pm, which is when the majority (80%) of our patients have always used it.


Patient safety remains our priority.  The Trust Board and the CCG Governing Body can confirm that the local NHS continues to manage well. Both Boards remain confident that plans to ensure patients needing emergency treatment during the night are treated safely at an alternative neighbouring A&E department are working well and patients are receiving safe care.


Numbers of patients affected by the overnight temporary closure remains in line with expectations:


  • around 3-4  people per night have attended other A&E departments themselves,
  • around 8-9 people per night have been taken by ambulance to other A&E departments
  • around 5-6 patients per night have been admitted to either the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Southmead Hospital in Bristol or Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.


We know that local services are busier than ever and under intense pressure. The plans in place between hospitals, community health services, ambulance services and social care services on where extra resources are needed over the winter months have taken into account the temporary overnight closure of A&E at Weston General Hospital.


We would like to thank the many health care staff involved for their ongoing commitment and hard work to deliver safe care to all patients particularly during this challenging time.


Patients needing urgent but not emergency care can access the most appropriate care for them from out of hours community health care providers and the out-of-hours GP service by ringing 111.  Anyone with an immediate life-threatening condition should call 999, as they would now.


Overnight services will remain closed until we as a system are confident that safe and sustainable staffing levels are in place throughout the night. Whilst Weston General Hospital is making progress with recruiting the numbers of permanent doctors needed to safely run the service at night, and continues to do all it can, it remains challenging and the A&E department will not reopen overnight in the short term.


Alongside ongoing intensive efforts to recruit, we are making progress to find alternatives to how we can treat some patients overnight at Weston without the need to admit them via an A&E department.  For example, we are looking at how a patient with a fractured or broken hip or a patient with a chest infection can be admitted directly to a ward at Weston for treatment so that they no longer need to be taken to Bristol or Taunton.


The work is complex and will take time to get right. We will provide an update when the process to allow some patients to be admitted directly to a ward for treatment during the night is in place.


The long term future of A&E will be addressed as part of the work of Healthy Weston: joining up services for better care in Westonpublished in October 2017, which is looking at alternative ways of offering care locally to patients traditionally seen in A&E, and at the types of urgent and emergency services best provided by Weston or by another hospital nearby that are clinically and financially sustainable.


Healthy Weston also sets out an expanded role for Weston General Hospital providing a greater range of health and care services on the hospital site, enabling patients to be treated in one place without needing to go to hospital or travel to different places for treatment.


Our joint ambition is to create a sustainable acute hospital which remains at the heart of the community and provides the services it is best placed to do in order to meet the needs of the local people.  We remain committed to ensuring people in North Somerset have access to safe, high quality, sustainable urgent and emergency care services, as close to home as possible. For more information and to get involved in the online survey visit


The overnight closure of Weston General Hospital’s A&E remains a temporary measure. No decisions about permanent changes to A&E services will be taken without a full public consultation.


Julia Ross                                                        James Rimmer

Chief Executive, NHS Bristol,                        Chief Executive, Weston Area Health NHS Trust
North Somerset & South
Gloucestershire CCGS