NHS leaders approve proposals for change at Weston Hospital

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body has today, Tuesday 1st October, approved a set of proposals to improve safety and quality at Weston Hospital.

The plans - supported by senior doctors across the region, alongside national regulators and the Boards of both Weston Area Health NHS Trust and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust - will establish permanent opening hours of 8am – 10pm at Weston A&E 7 days a week. These are the opening hours that operate currently, and which have been in place since July 2017 when the department was temporarily closed overnight due to patient safety concerns.

Under the agreed proposals, 24/7 urgent care access will be bolstered by an increase in the number of hospital admissions being made directly onto wards overnight – bypassing the need for A&E altogether. GP services in the area will also be strengthened.

On average, around eight people per night currently attend neighbouring hospitals for emergency care, and this number will reduce to around five with the introduction of direct admissions. Referrals directly onto wards will be made by GPs and paramedics.

Following robust discussion of a full decision-making business case, the CCG’s Governing Body approved every recommendation made. The additional recommendations are:

  • To make specialist children’s urgent care provision available 7 days a week instead of 5, and extending the mid-week opening hours at the Seashore Centre to match those of A&E. This means around 1,100 more children in need of emergency care will be treated at Weston Hospital each year; and a further 570 will receive their planned care at Weston instead of travelling further afield.
  • Continue to provide emergency surgery at Weston Hospital 7 days a week, closing theatres from 8pm-8am. Patients needing emergency surgery overnight will be stabilised at Weston and transferred to neighbouring specialist hospitals for treatment, affecting around 80 people a year.
  • Continue to provide up to Level 3 critical care for people who need single organ support at Weston Hospital. People requiring critical care for two or more organs at Level 2 or 3 - or people who will benefit from highly specialist clinical services - will be transferred to Bristol for treatment then brought back to Weston to continue their recovery locally. As a result of the public consultation process, a dedicated transfer team will be set up for these patients - reflecting the importance of travel to the public. The change is expected to affect around 130 people a year.

The developments will see around 2, 000 more people treated locally at Weston each year, the majority of them children benefiting from the extended paediatric hours. They are supported by a raft of wider improvements already in progress, which include:

  • The introduction of an integrated frailty service which will provide more joined-up care for the area’s growing population of older people.
  • A new mental health crisis and recovery centre in the centre of Weston which will open in early 2020.
  • Strengthened primary care services, with GP practices working together at scale to improve access and care for local people.

Dr Martin Jones, Medical Director at BNSSG CCG, said:

“The proposals agreed today are a big step forward for Weston Hospital, the population it serves, and the staff who work there. The hospital will be much better able to achieve national clinical quality standards with these changes in place, as well as attract and retain the staff it needs.

Clinicians across our area are clear that ‘doing nothing’ is not an option for Weston. Similarly, 8 in 10 respondents to our public consultation recognised the need to do things differently.

Despite the best efforts of skilled and committed hospital staff, the way we organise services has simply not kept up with changing health needs over the years.

The approved proposals will stabilise urgent care, improve quality, and ensure that the hospital is better able to expand the services that local people need most often - such as frailty support, paediatrics and planned care.”

Dr Peter Collins, Medical Director at Weston Area Health Trust, said:

“We welcome the CCG Governing Body’s decision and the clarity and certainty this brings to our staff and those who need our services.

“We are committed to working with our commissioning colleagues to ensure that Weston General Hospital remains a dynamic hospital at the heart of the community, and our priority now is to work with our skilled and dedicated clinical teams to implement the proposals and make this a reality.”

A phased implementation of the recommendations will run until April 2021.


Second Step named highest scoring bidder for North Somerset crisis and recovery centre

Plans for an innovative mental health crisis and recovery centre in North Somerset took a step forward today with confirmation that local mental health charity Second Step, is the preferred bidder for the new service.

The service will be based in Weston-super-Mare, and has been commissioned as part of the local Healthy Weston programme to transform services in the Weston and Worle area. It will provide a safe, welcoming and comfortable place for people in immediate acute emotional distress and for those seeking to prevent the onset of a crisis, and will be open 6pm to 12 midnight seven days a week.

Today’s announcement follows a rigorous procurement process in which Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group invited organisations to bid to provide the new service. Following thorough evaluation, Second Step was confirmed as the highest-scoring bidder and the CCG will now carry out final due diligence checks prior to an anticipated contract award in October.

Julia Ross, Chief Executive of NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG said:

"The crisis centre is a key part of our Healthy Weston plans to strengthen and enhance health services in Weston-super-Mare and the surrounding area and we were delighted to receive a number of strong bids to provide the new service.

One in four of us will experience mental health problems at some point in our lives and in Weston, there is a higher than average incidence of mental illness. This new centre will respond to that need, providing a high-quality, responsive service for people experiencing mental health crisis and importantly, providing the care they need in a community setting without the need to go into hospital."

Aileen Edwards, Second Step’s Chief Executive said:

"We’re delighted to be the preferred bidder to provide this new and important service in North Somerset. We understand the importance of a safe and accessible space for people experiencing acute mental distress and are looking forward to working with our partners to offer much needed support to people in crisis."

Justine Keeble, Chair of Clarity - North Somerset Independent Mental Health Network, said:

"It’s great that we’re progressing to the next stage of implementing the crisis and recovery centre in Weston.

We’ve been heavily involved in the procurement process, providing input from the perspectives of those with lived experience of mental health crises.

We are excited to continue to work collaboratively with BNSSG CCG, and now Second Step, sharing our skills and experience to get the service up and running."

The new service was co-designed with local patient representatives, clinicians and other stakeholders via a series of public engagement workshops and design sessions. These identified a clear requirement for a crisis and recovery centre style model which would allow people to access out-of-hours mental health support alongside elements of social care support, and this is reflected in the design of the new service.

Similar crisis and recovery centre models have been implemented in numerous places in England. It is a nationally recognised model which aims to provide more proactive, person-centred services to support people experiencing emotional distress or a mental health crisis, as an alternative to A&E.

The new centre has not yet been officially named. During the service design phase the CCG collected a list of suggestions from engagement events which were shared with bidders as part of the tender process, asking them to propose a name that reflects people’s feedback. Second Step will be working with service users to agree the name of the service and this will be announced in the coming months.

The new service is expected to open in April 2020.


NHS leaders consider proposals for change at Weston Hospital

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body will consider proposals for change at Weston Hospital next week, following the public consultation process which concluded in June this year.

The proposals, designed to improve safety, quality and sustainability, are backed by senior doctors and clinicians across the area, including the Hospital Consultants’ Body and a key group of local GPs. The Boards of Weston Area Health NHS Trust and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust have also expressed their support.

The proposals recommend making the temporary overnight closure of A&E permanent, meaning that the A&E at Weston Hospital would be open from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week. It was initially closed overnight in July 2017 following patient safety concerns.

Under the proposals, 24/7 urgent care access would be bolstered by improved GP services and an increase in the number of hospital admissions being made directly onto wards overnight – bypassing the need for A&E altogether. On average, around eight people per night currently attend neighbouring hospitals for emergency care, and through the introduction of direct admissions, this number would reduce to around five. Referrals directly onto wards would be made by GPs and paramedics.

The original proposals were designed to address a series of significant challenges, including quality and safety at the hospital, changing health needs of the population and significant variations in care. They have been further refined with senior doctors and assured by national regulators as well as a regional group of independent clinical experts. The additional recommendations are:

  • To make specialist children’s urgent care provision available 7 days a week instead of 5, and extend the mid-week opening hours at the Seashore Centre to match those of A&E. This would mean around 1,100 more children in need of emergency care being treated at Weston Hospital each year; and a further 570 receiving their planned care at Weston instead of travelling further afield.
  • Continue to provide emergency surgery at Weston Hospital 7 days a week, closing theatres from 8pm-8am. Patients needing emergency surgery overnight would be stabilised at Weston and transferred to neighbouring specialist hospitals for treatment, affecting around 80 people a year.
  • Continue to provide up to Level 3 critical care for people who need single organ support at Weston Hospital. People requiring critical care for two or more organs at Level 2 or 3 - or people who would benefit from specialist clinical services - would be transferred to Bristol for treatment then brought back to Weston to continue their recovery. As a result of the consultation process a dedicated transfer team would be set up to support this change, which is expected to affect around 130 people a year.

The developments would be supported by a raft of wider improvements already in progress. These include the introduction of a new frailty service to meet the needs of the area’s growing population of older people, strengthened primary care, and a mental health crisis and recovery centre in central Weston which will open in early 2020.

Dr Martin Jones, Medical Director at BNSSG CCG, said:

“If agreed, these proposals would ensure that Weston Hospital is better able to achieve national clinical quality standards, as well as attract and retain the staff it needs. That means a better local service for patients and the public.

Clinicians across our area are clear that ‘doing nothing’ is not an option for Weston, and that these proposals are a big step in the right direction. Our vision has always been to have a dynamic and focussed hospital at the heart of the community, providing more of the services local people need most often.

The public consultation period has also meant we’ve been able to listen to a broad range of views and make improvements to the proposals we originally put forward.

For example, we’ve reduced the number of people who would need to travel out of Weston for emergency surgery under our proposals from 560 to just 80 a year. People told us travel was a big concern, and we’ve worked to address that while staying focussed on quality and safety.

We remain hugely grateful to everyone who expressed their views during the consultation.”

Dr Peter Collins, Medical Director at Weston Area Health Trust, said:

“There are opportunities outlined in the CCG’s proposals to grow our services, including those for frail and older people – using the expertise of our award winning frailty teams - and for children and young people which would see access to paediatric specialists and our excellent acute paediatric Seashore Centre enhanced.

We also welcome a final decision on how we continue to provide critical care and 24/7 urgent and emergency care for the people of Weston and surrounding areas.”

The CCG’s Governing Body will consider the proposals at its meeting on October 1st, being held at the Winter Gardens in central Weston. If the CCG decides to agree the changes, a phased implementation would begin immediately and run until April 2021.


NHS leaders consider proposals for change at Weston Hospital

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body will consider proposals for change at Weston Hospital next week, following the public consultation process which concluded in June this year.

The proposals, designed to improve safety, quality and sustainability, are backed by senior doctors and clinicians across the area, including the Hospital Consultants’ Body and a key group of local GPs. The Boards of Weston Area Health NHS Trust and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust have also expressed their support.

The proposals recommend making the temporary overnight closure of A&E permanent, meaning that the A&E at Weston Hospital would be open from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week. It was initially closed overnight in July 2017 following patient safety concerns.

Under the proposals, 24/7 urgent care access would be bolstered by improved GP services and an increase in the number of hospital admissions being made directly onto wards overnight – bypassing the need for A&E altogether. On average, around eight people per night currently attend neighbouring hospitals for emergency care, and through the introduction of direct admissions, this number would reduce to around five. Referrals directly onto wards would be made by GPs and paramedics.

The original proposals were designed to address a series of significant challenges, including quality and safety at the hospital, changing health needs of the population and significant variations in care. They have been further refined with senior doctors and assured by national regulators as well as a regional group of independent clinical experts. The additional recommendations are:

  • To make specialist children’s urgent care provision available 7 days a week instead of 5, and extend the mid-week opening hours at the Seashore Centre to match those of A&E. This would mean around 1,100 more children in need of emergency care being treated at Weston Hospital each year; and a further 570 receiving their planned care at Weston instead of travelling further afield.
  • Continue to provide emergency surgery at Weston Hospital 7 days a week, closing theatres from 8pm-8am. Patients needing emergency surgery overnight would be stabilised at Weston and transferred to neighbouring specialist hospitals for treatment, affecting around 80 people a year.
  • Continue to provide up to Level 3 critical care for people who need single organ support at Weston Hospital. People requiring critical care for two or more organs at Level 2 or 3 - or people who would benefit from specialist clinical services - would be transferred to Bristol for treatment then brought back to Weston to continue their recovery. As a result of the consultation process a dedicated transfer team would be set up to support this change, which is expected to affect around 130 people a year.

The developments would be supported by a raft of wider improvements already in progress. These include the introduction of a new frailty service to meet the needs of the area’s growing population of older people, strengthened primary care, and a mental health crisis and recovery centre in central Weston which will open in early 2020.

Dr Martin Jones, Medical Director at BNSSG CCG, said:

“If agreed, these proposals would ensure that Weston Hospital is better able to achieve national clinical quality standards, as well as attract and retain the staff it needs. That means a better local service for patients and the public.

Clinicians across our area are clear that ‘doing nothing’ is not an option for Weston, and that these proposals are a big step in the right direction. Our vision has always been to have a dynamic and focussed hospital at the heart of the community, providing more of the services local people need most often.

The public consultation period has also meant we’ve been able to listen to a broad range of views and make improvements to the proposals we originally put forward.

For example, we’ve reduced the number of people who would need to travel out of Weston for emergency surgery under our proposals from 560 to just 80 a year. People told us travel was a big concern, and we’ve worked to address that while staying focussed on quality and safety.

We remain hugely grateful to everyone who expressed their views during the consultation.”

Dr Peter Collins, Medical Director at Weston Area Health Trust, said:

“There are opportunities outlined in the CCG’s proposals to grow our services, including those for frail and older people – using the expertise of our award winning frailty teams - and for children and young people which would see access to paediatric specialists and our excellent acute paediatric Seashore Centre enhanced.

We also welcome a final decision on how we continue to provide critical care and 24/7 urgent and emergency care for the people of Weston and surrounding areas.”

The CCG’s Governing Body will consider the proposals at its meeting on October 1st, being held at the Winter Gardens in central Weston. If the CCG decides to agree the changes, a phased implementation would begin immediately and run until April 2021.


Group of local GPs back Healthy Weston proposals

A group of local GPs have backed the proposals outlined in the Healthy Weston consultation. Pier Health Group, a group of GP practices based in Weston-super-Mare, wrote to Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to formally declare their support for the proposals, as well as for the broader objectives of the Healthy Weston programme.

The letter of support states that Pier Health Group was unable to submit its views during the formal consultation period, as it hadn't yet been formally constituted. The GPs were keen, however, to put their views on the record.

The Healthy Weston decision making business case (DMBC), which sets out recommended next steps for consideration by BNSSG CCG, will be published later this month. This follows a formal public consultation on the proposals which took place earlier this year. The document will receive public scrutiny from the North Somerset Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel on Monday 30th September, and on Tuesday 1st October recommendations will be made to Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG’s Governing Body about the future shape of services at Weston Hospital.

Read the letter from Pier Health Group

Find out more about Healthy Weston

Read the Healthy Weston consultation document


Healthy Weston recommendations to be presented to North Somerset Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel

The Healthy Weston decision making business case will receive public scrutiny through the North Somerset Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel on Monday 30th September. The meeting, which members of the public can attend, is taking place at 1.30pm in the New Council Chamber at Weston Town Hall.  Further details will be available on the North Somerset Council website soon.

The following day, on Tuesday 1st October, recommendations will be made to Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG’s Governing Body about the future shape of services at Weston Hospital.


CCG listens to Healthy Weston feedback from more than 3,000 people

NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will review feedback received during the Healthy Weston public consultation at its Governing Body meeting next week.

Between February and June 2019, over 2,300 responses were made to the public consultation, representing more than 3,000 people. The responses express a range of views on proposals for changing the way health and care services are delivered in Weston, including some services at Weston General Hospital. The CCG has now received a report from the independent group that compiled all of the feedback.

During the consultation, people took part in public meetings, completed feedback forms and sent emails. A representative group of more than 1,000 people were interviewed through door-to-door surveys. Groups such as older people, people with young families and those with long-term health conditions took part in interviews and focus groups to make sure that a wide variety of people across the area were able to have their say.

Three main changes to services were proposed. Eight out of ten people and organisations who gave feedback said they understood why things needed to change. Most people were supportive of proposed changes to intensive care and emergency surgery.

People had more varied views about the proposal to make permanent a temporary overnight closure of the A&E, with three out of ten supporting this and seven out of ten expressing concerns.

Regardless of whether or not they supported the proposals, people wanted the CCG to consider the following points when making decisions about next steps:

  • Whether the proposals account for the size and age of the population.
  • Whether there are enough GPs, ambulances and space at other hospitals for the proposals to work.
  • Whether it is appropriate for people and their loved ones to travel to another hospital overnight in an emergency.

Dr Martin Jones, Medical Director at NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“We are really pleased that so many local people and hospital staff gave their views during the public consultation. We now have a much better understanding of what people think and what is most important to them. Our vision is for Weston General to be a dynamic hospital at the heart of the local community – offering more of the services that local people need most often.”

The report will inform the recommendations made to the CCG’s Governing Body about the future shape of services at Weston Hospital. These recommendations will be considered in October 2019.

Read the independent report

Read the summary version of the independent report


Close of Healthy Weston consultation

The Healthy Weston consultation ended at noon on Friday 14 June 2019.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their views with us. All the feedback will now be analysed by an independent organisation and a report will be produced to be considered fully by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.

We will publish this report on our website and make sure that people know when it is available to view. The report will cover:

  • Major themes from the consultation.
  • A summary of the responses about the different elements of our proposals.
  • An overview of the process.
  • An explanation of how the final decisions will be taken (including dates of meetings in public) and a timeline for implementing the chosen option.
  • How the CCG intends to address the views, feedback, comments, ideas and concerns that people raise.

The CCG’s Governing Body will meet in public to report back on the consultation, consider all the evidence in full and make a decision about the future of services at Weston General Hospital.


Views still welcome on Healthy Weston consultation

Local people are being urged to give their views on proposals to improve healthcare in and around Weston as the formal consultation enters its final week.

The Healthy Weston consultation, which will end at noon on Friday 14 June 2019, has already received more than 1,300 responses but Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG) is stressing the importance of local people giving their views before the deadline.

The consultation sets out a series of proposals designed to address challenges to healthcare in the area.

“It’s great that so many residents have had their say already, but it’s really important that as many people as possible take part and share their views on these important proposals,” said Dr Martin Jones, a GP at a Bournville practice, and Medical Director at BNSSG. “As well as direct responses to the consultation, we have also met over 2,500 people at various Healthy Weston events including the larger public events and community outreach meetings.”

“Several key issues have been raised consistently since the consultation began. These include travel to neighbouring hospitals, the status of proposals coming forward from some consultants at the hospital, and concern over the availability of 24/7 urgent and emergency care at the hospital."

“We have set up a Travel Working Group to respond to concerns and emphasised that 24/7 urgent and emergency care will still be provided at the hospital but in a different way."

“We have been meeting with the consultants on a regular basis and their proposals have been evaluated by an independent group of senior clinicians. Whilst they did not score as highly against the same criteria as the proposals already developed, they contained some really good ideas which we are hoping to take forward together."

“Once the consultation closes this Friday, every single response will be considered and independently evaluated before any final decision is taken,” he added

The CCG has held 18 public events across North Somerset and northern Sedgemoor since mid-February as well as meetings with NHS staff, community groups and voluntary organisations.

The last public event will take place on Thursday 13 June at 6.30pm at Weston-super-Mare Football Club, and contributions can also be made by completing an online survey.

People wishing to give their views can also write direct to Freepost HEALTHY WESTON or email bnssg.healthyweston.enquiries@nhs.net

The Healthy Weston proposals being consulted on were developed by doctors, in partnership with local people and hospital staff and are designed to better serve the needs of everyone in the local area, including a growing number of frail older people, young families with children, and people affected by mental illness.

Under the proposals, 24/7 urgent and emergency care would continue to be provided at Weston Hospital, but in a different way.

The current temporary A&E opening times of 8am to 10pm would be made permanent, supported by an improved out-of-hours service and with more patients admitted directly onto wards overnight via GP referral.

The proposals out for formal consultation also feature changes to the levels of emergency surgery and critical care that can be provided at Weston Hospital.

The proposals are supported by a range of improvements to local services, including plans to provide more routine surgery, such as knee and hip operations, at Weston Hospital.

They also include enhancements to services for frail and older people, children’s urgent care services, mental health services and primary care (GP services) in the Weston and Worle area.

Come to the public event at Weston-super-Mare Football Club

Complete the online survey


Healthy Weston consultation extended

The Healthy Weston consultation has been extended to midday on Friday 14 June 2019 as a result of the election purdah period covering the local and European elections.

We have rescheduled a series of public meetings at which local people will have the opportunity to hear about and discuss our proposals to join up services for better care in Weston-super-Mare, Worle and surrounding areas.

The upcoming public meetings are listed below:

Tuesday 28th May, 6.30 – 8.30pm. The Campus, Worle

Thursday 30th May, 7 – 9pm. Nailsea Methodist Church

Tuesday 4th June, 7 – 9pm. Clevedon Community Centre & Princes Hall, Clevedon

Thursday 6th June, 6.30 – 8.30pm. Somerset Hall, Portishead

Thursday 13th June, 6.30 – 8.30pm. Weston-super-Mare Football Club

Book your place

Complete our online survey