lit vigil held at Weston General Hospital to protest A&E closure
from the Burnham-On-Sea area took part in a candle lit vigil outside
Weston General hospital last night (Monday) to protest against ongoing
General Hospital's Accident and Emergency department has been closing
between 10pm and 8am since July due to staffing issues.
vigil was organised by campaign group Save Weston A&E ahead
of a Hospital Board taking place today (Tuesday). The vigil was
the latest in a series of protests since the overnight closures
Weston A&E says: "The hospital leadership have recently
announced that A&E will not reopen overnight before Christmas
because they have still not recruited sufficient doctors and nurses
to staff it overnight. We are disappointed and very worried by the
decision now that winter is here. Winter pressures are likely to
increase ambulance journeys overnight to Bristol and Taunton, not
forgetting that those hospitals will be facing their own winter
MP James Heappey, right, has said this week he's "encouraged"
with the rate of recruitment at Weston General Hospital, having
spoken to its Chief Executive, James Rimmer.
Heappey told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Twenty per cent of the patients
at Weston are from the Wells constituency and so the hospital is
a vital resource for those living in the Burnham-On-Sea, Highbridge
and Cheddar Valley area."
am encouraged that recruiting is progressing well and that the hospital
hopes to re-open the A&E at night in March."
I will continue to monitor the situation and support my colleague
John Penrose, who is working tirelessly with the hospital to get
the A&E re-open at night as quickly as possible."
A&E department has been temporarily shut because the ward was
not sufficiently staffed to operate 24/7 and ambulances have since
been sent to Bristol and Taunton overnight.
for Weston Area Health Trust said: "Patient safety is our priority.
We can confirm that there is no anticipated date for re-opening
our A&E overnight as it is wholly reliant on our ability to
recruit enough permanent A&E doctors and nurses to safely staff
"Good progress is being made with recruitment, but new doctors
and nurses also require lengthy training and supervision until they
are able to work independently. We have to be assured that staffing
levels are safe and very importantly that they are sustainable.
We could not be in a position where we lifted the temporary overnight
closure but found ourselves back in a position of having inadequate
and unsafe staffing a short time later."
"We will keep the public fully up to date on progress and when
firm plans or decisions are made we will share these widely with
Meanwhile North Somerset CCGs Healthy Weston programme continues
which aims to build a strong and vibrant future both for Weston
General Hospital and our A&E department."