November 8, 2017
New protest held over continuing overnight closure of Weston A&E

Residents in the Burnham-On-Sea area requiring A&E treatment overnight will continue to have to travel to Bristol or Taunton because Weston General Hospital remains shut at night despite its recruitment of additional doctors.

The hospital, which serves more than 200,000 people in Weston-super-Mare, Burnham-On-Sea, Highbridge and the surrounding areas, is shut between 10pm and 8am each day.

The Hospital Trust was forced to shut its Casualty Department in July to move staff onto its daytime service.

A board meeting was held at the hospital on Tuesday (November 7th) to discuss the situation, with a number of protesters also there, as pictured here.

The Trust say they have recruited two extra doctors to the A&E department, making a total of four - but they need nine.

They also have five consultants but need seven, as well as being short on nurses.

Protesters say they are going to keep up the pressure on the trust to recruit more staff and they are determined to not let the A&E close.

They have been told that there is no chance that the overnight A&E will re-open before Christmas.

The hospital is spending £840,000 expanding the building next to the A&E Department.

It will house GPs there to handle non-emergency cases, with the aim of taking the pressure off A&E, however some protesters say the work could make it easier for the hospital to argue the A&E is no longer needed.

Burnham-On-Sea's MP James Heappey told earlier this year that "it is hugely concerning that the A&E must close overnight until more sustainable levels of staffing can be achieved."

He added: "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."


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