Weston General Hospital

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Weston General Hospital
Weston Area Health NHS Trust
Weston General Hospital.jpg
Location Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
Care system Public NHS
Hospital type District General
Emergency department Yes Accident & Emergency
Beds 320
Founded 1986
Website http://www.waht.nhs.uk/
Lists Hospitals in England

Weston General Hospital is an NHS district general hospital in the town of Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, England operated by Weston Area Health NHS Trust. It has an Accident & Emergency department, an intensive care unit, an Oncology and Haematology day unit, and a day case unit. Weston General has 320 beds and 1,700 staff, and has the largest midwifery-led maternity unit in the country. The hospital also has a 12-bed private unit, The Waterside Suite, wholly owned by the hospital trust, with profits being re-invested into the main hospital.

The Trust announced in 2011 that it was not viable in its present form. Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust had submitted a bid to take it over,[1] however this was rejected in October 2015 by the NHS Trust Development Authority.[2]


The Healthcare Commission, an independent body which promotes and drives quality healthcare in the United Kingdom, has inspected Weston General Hospital and published its findings. In the 2005/2006 period, on the quality of the healthcare it provided the hospital was rated as weak on a four-point scale of weak, fair, good and excellent. This placed the hospital in the bottom performing 9% of trusts in the country.[3] On the same scale the hospital's use of resources was also rated weak, placing it in the bottom 37% of trusts in the country.[4] In the 2006/2007 period, the hospital's quality of healthcare score was upgraded to fair, but its use of resources rating remained at weak.[5]

The hospital, like others, has had problems with hospital acquired infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile (C. diff). In 2003 the trust had the highest rate of MRSA infections in the country.[6] In August 2007 the hospital was criticised in the local press following the death of a 75-year-old cancer patient from C diff.[7] Responding the hospital stated that it had reduced infection rates by 25% through 2007. Performance figures released by the trust in September 2007 showed that hospital acquired infection rates had fallen further with just one case of MRSA in August and 18 of C.Diff, compared with more than 30 just a few months previous. These improvements are attributed to a new "bare below the elbow" initiative to ensure that staff clean their hands and wrists, plus regular steam cleaning of patient beds.[8]

On 7 July 2003, BBC Television programme Inside Out broadcast allegations from a whistleblower that senior management within the hospital were putting pressure on employees to manipulate waiting list statistics to make them look more favourable.[9] An independent enquiry in 2004 concluded that this manipulation did take place.[10][11] In 2006, one of the managers named by Inside Out lost a libel case against the BBC, which had alleged that she was involved in the falsification of waiting lists.[12][13] Waiting lists are still a problem – in 2006 the hospital was one of only eight in the country that failed to reduce waiting times for treatment.[14]

The trust was forced to borrow £7.7 million in June 2016 because it was having trouble retaining clinicians.[15]

In June 2017 the trust was forced to close the emergency department overnight after warnings from the Care Quality Commission that it was overcrowded, understaffed and unsafe, relying on locum staff.[16]


Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) officially opened the Queen Alexandra Memorial Hospital on The Boulevard in 1928. Over the years, equipment was added and updated. Portable and temporary buildings were added to the hospital in an attempt to keep pace with the growing needs of the community.

With the growth in the town of Weston, and in particular around the area of Worle, it became evident that the town needed a new hospital. Much debate took place resulting in a new hospital being built and opened on 16 September 1986, on the edge of Uphill village.[17]

In January 2003 the hospital opened a new oncology and haematology day unit, the Jackson Barstow Wing was opened to treat patients from the surrounding area.[18] The new unit meant that patients could receive treatments, including chemotherapy and blood transfusions without having to travel to Bristol.

Weston General Hospital opened a new paediatric unit, the Seashore Centre, in February 2007. The unit, which features paediatric outpatients and a ten-bed day ward, was needed because the only major children's facilities in the region are located at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.[19]

Voluntary organisations[edit]

The hospital is served by a number of voluntary organisations including an active League of Friends whose volunteers staff the hospital shop and raise money for projects within the hospital; Freewheelers EVS, who use motorcycles to provide emergency out-of-hours transport of blood, diagnostic specimens and drugs;[20] and Sunshine Radio, a hospital radio station manned by volunteers. The hospital also works closely with nearby Weston Hospicecare which provides palliative care for patients with life-threatening conditions such as cancer. The new children's centre was partly funded by an appeal, Weston Super Kids, backed by many in the town including the Mayor who made it her chosen charity for her year in office.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Only one bidder in the running for Weston". Health Service Journal. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Weston General Hospital takeover deal dropped". BBC. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Weston Area Health NHS Trust – Quality of services". Healthcare Commission. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  4. ^ "Weston Area Health NHS Trust – Use of resources". Healthcare Commission. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  5. ^ "The annual health check 2006/2007 Directory of performance ratings for NHS trusts" (PDF). Healthcare Commission. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  6. ^ "Best and worst hospitals for superbug infections". The Daily Telegraph. London. 5 December 2003. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  7. ^ "My wife died from hospital superbug". This Is Somerset. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  8. ^ "Successful Steam Cleaning Bed Trial as C.Diff Figures Plummet in Weston General Hospital" (PDF). Weston Area Health NHS Trust. 5 October 2007. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "The Whistleblower". BBC Inside Out. 7 July 2003. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  10. ^ "Staff may be disciplined over "fiddling" waiting lists". British Medical Journal. 20 May 2004. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  11. ^ "Hospital 'doctored' waiting times". BBC News. 12 May 2004. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  12. ^ Dowell, Ben (9 March 2006). "BBC wins NHS libel case". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  13. ^ "BBC wins waiting list libel case". BBC News. 9 March 2006. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  14. ^ Carvel, John (8 June 2007). "One in eight patients waiting over a year for treatment, admits minister". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  15. ^ "Trusts borrow millions to pay for redundancies and beds". Health Service Journal. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2016. 
  16. ^ "Trust shuts 'inadequate' A&E overnight after CQC safety warning". Health Service Journal. 14 June 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  17. ^ "History & Figures". Weston Area Health NHS Trust. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  18. ^ "State-of-the-art care on the NHS". British Nursing News Online / Bristol Evening Post. 14 April 2003. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  19. ^ "Seashore Centre for children and young people opens at Weston Area Health NHS Trust" (PDF). North Somerset Children and Young People's Services Noticeboard. 6 March 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  20. ^ "Meeting the need for speed". Bristol Evening Post. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  21. ^ "Town Mayor's charity 2006–2007". Weston-super-Mare town council. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°19′16″N 2°58′17″W / 51.32119°N 2.971386°W / 51.32119; -2.971386