Somerset

Urgent care 'unaffected' by A&E overnight closure

Weston General Hospital
Image caption Weston General Hospital's A&E department has been closed overnight since 2017

The overnight closure of A&E at Weston General Hospital has not affected the care of patients, an audit requested by health chiefs has found.

The emergency room at the hospital has been shut between 22:00 and 08:00 each night for nearly two years.

Despite fierce public pressure to re-open it 24 hours a day, local NHS commissioners have proposed to make the overnight closure permanent.

The idea is part of a new healthcare model for the Weston-super-Mare area.

Since the closure began in July 2017, the most serious emergency cases have been taken to Bristol and Taunton, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The audit looked at overnight emergency patients taken from the Weston area to Bristol.

A paramedic from the South Western Ambulance Service and a consultant in emergency medicine reviewed the notes of 50 patients.

Rebecca Dunn from the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: "The conclusion of that audit was that the increased [ambulance] travel times did not have any adverse impact on the clinical outcome.

"Where required, appropriate interventions were initiated by the ambulance clinicians, stabilising patients prior to the treatment in hospital."

Ms Dunn told the CCG's governing body on Tuesday that the audit findings were "a really important step to ensure that we were not adversely impacting clinical care" because of the longer ambulance trips required by the overnight A&E closure.

CCG papers show similar audits are planned for Bristol's Southmead Hospital and Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital.

The public consultation will run until 14 June.

Image caption Campaigners fought hard to keep the A&E unit open overnight

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