Weston-super-Mare hospital: Report casts doubts on services

Image caption At present the town's A&E department is closed between 22:00 and 08:00

A new report has cast doubt over the future of key hospital services such as A&E, critical care and maternity.

Weston General has already seen its A&E close overnight, and it will not reopen overnight "in the short-term" until "safe and sustainable staffing levels" are achieved.

The maternity unit needs 500 births a year to be viable, but it currently has about 170.

The local MP said he was concerned about the department.

'Not sustainable'

The report, which was published in draft form by NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

The report said "premium payments"... "to support specific services that otherwise would struggle to be financially viable, for example A&E and critical care" were being made.

"This is clearly not sustainable and will need to change," it said.

It notes the local health economy is under "significant financial pressure", with North Somerset CCG's deficit expected to rise to more than £40m by 2021, assuming no action is taken.

"From the information and evidence presented in this document, it is clear that [to] 'do nothing' is not an option," the report said.

The Conservative MP for Weston-super-Mare, John Penrose, said he was concerned the report failed to mention anything about A&E re-opening overnight, but said he had since received assurances from local health bosses.

Asked about maternity services, Mr Penrose said he was "really worried about that".

"It's quite a small unit a present - quite a lot of mums end up having their babies in Bristol.

"It seems wrong for a town of our size that that's they way round things are.

"There's an important debate to be had both within the town, but also with the local health chiefs."

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