Action plan needed to support hospital staff

12:47pm - 14 May 2021

North Somerset Council is calling for an action plan and funding to tackle issues at Weston General Hospital highlighted in the latest report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).


The report of an inspection of the medical care services department at the hospital on 11 March, which was published on 12 May, praised the focus given by staff on the needs of the patients, but said the hospital’s leadership team needs to make a number of sustainable improvements.

North Somerset Council’s executive member responsible for health and adult’s social care, Cllr Mike Bell, said: “We all recognise the enormous pressure our NHS has been under during the Covid-19 pandemic and we are grateful for the huge efforts staff have made to care for us and support the hugely successful vaccine programme.

“Weston General Hospital has had significant challenges for many years, particularly around the ability to recruit and retain appropriate staff, but also due to the uncertainty about the future of the hospital and trust.

“I’d hoped the merger of the Weston Area Health NHS Trust and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust would be the catalyst for a new approach at the hospital, with clearer leadership.

“It’s disappointing this latest CQC report confirms concerns remain about the leadership, management and staffing levels at the hospital.

“As we begin to come out of the worst of the pandemic and NHS services start the work to get back to normal - and tackle a backlog of treatments that have built up - it is time that we saw more rapid progress from the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust in addressing historic weaknesses.

“The Healthy Weston programme, which set out plans to reimagine Weston General Hospital, needs to get back on track, as it has not progressed as quickly as we need and there are legitimate concerns it is no longer addressing the fundamental challenges.

“I expect to see an action plan from the trust to tackle these issues and look to the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group to provide the funding and support needed for it to be implemented.”

In April 2020, when Weston Area Health Trust and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust merged, Weston General Hospital came under new management.

The CQC would normally carry out a comprehensive inspection of a hospital when it changes management and the ratings for all services would be reviewed. During the Covid-19 pandemic inspection activity has been mainly restricted to focused inspections in response to concerns raised.

The report is available on the CQC website from Wednesday 12 May.