Hospital forced to close A&E 'due to high number of patients with coronavirus'by Lorraine King
A hospital has been forced to stop accepting new admissions in its A&E department due to the high number of coronavirus patients it is treating.
Weston General Hospital in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, has introduced the temporarily stop from 8am today.
University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the hospital, said it was 'a precautionary measure' to 'maintain the safety of staff and patients'.
Dr William Oldfield, the trust's medical director, said: “As with any hospital, the number of patients with COVID-19 will frequently change as people are admitted and discharged.
“We currently have a high number of patients with COVID-19 in Weston General Hospital.
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"Whilst the vast majority will have come into the hospital with COVID-19, as an extra precaution we have taken the proactive step to temporarily stop accepting new patients to maintain patient and staff safety.
“This is a clinically-led decision and we are being supported by our system partners to ensure that new patients receive the care and treatment they need in the appropriate setting, and we are continuing to provide high quality care to existing patients who are being treated in the hospital.
“We have a robust Coronavirus testing programme in place for patients and staff to identify cases quickly, with appropriate measures taken by clinical teams as required.
“We will keep the situation under constant review.
The decision to temporarily close the A&E unit has been clinically-led, and is supported by partners across the wider Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) health and care system.
The trust said arrangements have been put in place for new patients to access treatment and care in other appropriate healthcare settings in the area if they need it.
The news comes after tourist company Visit Weston-super-Mare changed its promotional slogan to "don't visit Weston-super-Mare" on social media.
It asking people not to visit the seaside town after Boris Johnson eased the lockdown last week.
A statement on its website says: "Following last week's changes to restrictions in England, we have received many enquiries from individuals wishing to visit Weston-super-Mare as part of their daily exercise without previous limitations.
"Whilst this is technically now permitted by the Government, we as an organisation, along with North Somerset Council, the town's local authority, are both asking that people still do not visit Weston-super-Mare yet."