How your feedback made a difference

For the past two years the Healthy Weston Programme has worked with clinicians, local people and other stakeholders to co-produce solutions. Between February and June 2019 the CCG consulted with local people and staff about the proposed changes.

More than 3,000 people and organisations shared their views. Most supported the proposed approach for critical care, emergency surgery and children’s services. About one third supported the proposed changes to A&E opening hours fully or somewhat. People said it was important to take key things into account when planning next steps. The Healthy Weston Programme enhanced its proposals as a result of this feedback.

Key things to consider: Travel issues

The feedback we received included your views on whether it is safe to travel to another hospital, the inconvenience and expense of travel for patients and their family and visitors, difficulties returning home from another hospital, the environmental impact of increased ambulance and car journeys and the lack of public transport to and from other hospitals.

What Healthy Weston did as a result

  • Developed recommendations to increase awareness of the support available for people travelling to and from hospital, particularly for vulnerable groups and people with difficulties travelling.
  • Changed the model so that time spent in another hospital would be limited, with transfer back to Weston at the earliest clinically appropriate opportunity.
  • Added a new dedicated critical care transfer service to help transport people to and from Weston Hospital.
  • Clinically reviewed records and found that overnight closure was safe and did not result in any adverse health effects.
  • Explored ways of expanding and locating out-of-hours primary care and access to diagnostics at the hospital, which could prevent people from transferring out of area.
  • Looked at digital solutions between the A&E department and primary care to help people access the care that they need in the best location for them.

Key things to consider: Capacity of other services

The feedback we received included your views on the capacity of other services to cope with the proposals, including the ambulance service, other hospitals, transport services and primary care.

What Healthy Weston did as a result

  • Worked with the ambulance service and GPs to identify people who can be directly admitted to the hospital overnight without needing to go through A&E.
  • As part of the temporary overnight closure, funding has been provided to the ambulance service for an extra double crewed vehicle, plus £12m more funding has been provided to the ambulance service as part of wider work.
  • Supported teams at Weston Hospital to consider new ways that the specialist workforce could work with the A&E department to streamline services.
  • Changed proposals for critical care so that people would be transferred on clinical grounds rather than after a certain time, so fewer people would transfer.
  • Proposed a new transfer team for critical care with its own staff and equipment so as not to deplete either hospital or affect the ambulance service.
  • Worked with local GPs to strengthen primary care, improving access to GP appointments and other specialists.

Key things to consider: Population demographics

The feedback we received included your views on the area’s population demographics, including size, growth, age, and rural location and the number of holiday makers.

What Healthy Weston did as a result

  • Used the most up to date population information from the local authority including house building projections. These are the same projections that are used by local authorities to plan for other services like school places.
  • Supported changes to primary care and community services to address the needs of older people, vulnerable groups and those with long-term conditions.

Key things to consider: Evidence

The feedback we received included your views on the accuracy and feasibility of evidence and statistics upon which proposals were based.

What Healthy Weston did as a result

  • Reviewed all of the assumptions to make sure they were accurate.
  • Used the most up to date information from the local authorities and NHS England.
  • Worked with some Weston Hospital consultants to evaluate an alternative proposal for A&E opening hours. When this was evaluated by clinicians as being less feasible, further work was undertaken to incorporate the ideas that the consultants had and improve the proposed changes.
  • Sought more external advice from national advisors and Health Education England, the organisation responsible for educating health professionals.

The Healthy Weston Programme revised and enhanced the proposals for change after listening to the views of local people, clinicians and partner organisations. Revisions included changes to how the A&E would be staffed, enabling paramedics and other healthcare professionals to make direct admissions to Weston Hospital overnight, changing the type of people able to receive critical care, having a dedicated transfer team for critical care and having rapid access clinics for emergency surgery.

The changes made due to the consultation would mean that over 2,000 more people will receive care at Weston Hospital each year, whilst still making the immediate essential improvements needed to quality and safety.

How we gathered your views

During the public consultation period, we held a series of public discussion meetings at which local people had the opportunity to hear about and discuss our proposals to join up services for better care in Weston-super-Mare, Worle and surrounding areas. These public meetings are listed below.

Public meetings

Tuesday 26th February
Winter Gardens Pavilion, Weston-super-Mare

Tuesday 5th March
For All Healthy Living Centre, Bournville

Thursday 14th March
Princess Theatre and Arts Centre, Burnham-on-Sea

Tuesday 19th March
Fairlands Middle School, Cheddar

Tuesday 28th May
The Campus, Worle

Thursday 30th May
Nailsea methodist Church

Tuesday 4th June
Clevedon Community Centre & Princes Hall, Clevedon

Thursday 6th June
Somerset Hall, Portishead

Thursday 13th June
Weston-super-Mare Football Club

Pop-up information stands

Friday 31st May
Sovereign Centre, Weston-super-Mare

Monday 3rd June
Hutton Moor Leisure Centre, Weston-super-Mare