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No Plan to reopen Weston General Hospital's Accident and Emergency Department

Weston Labour Party sent a Freedom of Information Request to Weston Area Health Trust on 25th July 2017.  A response has now been received albeit 2 days past the 20-working day legal requirement.

We asked WAHT a series of 12 questions about the impact and implementation of the overnight closure of Weston General Hospital’s A&E department.  They answered 4 of the 12 questions.  Of the unanswered 8 questions they failed to answer, two questions were on the additional load placed on the all night GP service on Locking Road, and 6 of the unanswered questions were on the provision, additional load, and coverage of ambulance services; they directed us to ask the North Somerset Care Commissioning Group as WAHT do not have this data.

Of the 4 questions they answered of particular note is their response to:

{Please provide…} “A copy of the written plan to bring the Accident and Emergency Department at Weston General Hospital back into full 24/7 operation.

They responded, “There is not a written plan. There is an initial vision document that we are engaging with our staff on at this point.”.

It is clear that there is currently no plan to reopen the Accident and Emergency Department for 24/7 operation.  This is extremely concerning.

Our town has an above average elderly population, and a growing overall population with further housing developments adding to the population this can only increase the pressure on the hospital.  It should be expanding its services, not cutting them.

It is also of concern that the WAHT board went ahead with the overnight closure with no plan of how they would see full operation restored a “vision” is not a plan.

On top of that they appear to have no metric of what impact the closure has had on the local ambulance service nor the neighbouring health trusts as overnight provision is forced onto the Bristol Royal Infirmary, and Musgrove Park Hospitals.

Due to this, on Saturday September 2nd, Weston Labour will be holding a Street Campaign on Weston-super-Mare High Street to highlight the ongoing issues over the closure of the A&E, and the insufficient funding of the NHS by the Conservative Government as a whole.

In partnership with North Somerset Protect Our NHS, health sector unions, and Weston-super-Mare Trades Union Council, we will be holding 2 protests at the Hospital over the next couple of weeks itself they will be:

  • Monday 4th Sept 2017 at 8:30pm – A candlelit vigil will be held to mark 2 months since the overnight closure of the A&E began.
  • Tuesday 5th Sept 2017 at 8:30am – A protest will be held at the entrance to the Hospital as the Weston Area Health Trust have their Board Meeting at 10am.  Protesters are encouraged to also attend the board meeting and to ask questions of the board about the failure to provide a suitable collection of health services to Weston-super-Mare.

We hope to see a large turnout for the protest which is just the latest in our ongoing fight to save our accident and emergency department.  It’s our NHS we have to fight to see it properly funded and its services protected.  We will keep fighting until the closure decision is reversed.

In the meantime we have entered another Freedom of Information request to Weston Area Health Trust to clarify what this "vision" document is, and about their staff consultation.  Additionally, we have place an FOI request with North Somerset Care Commissioning Group to clarify the points WAHT couldn't answer.

Dave Townsend
Weston-super-Mare Constituency Labour Party

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