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Southmead Hospital's A&E improves its CQC rating

Southmead Hospital's A&E department is now rated as 'Good'. Credit: ITV News West Country

The Health watchdog has found Southmead Hospital's Accident and Emergency department has improved after their latest inspection.

A year ago it had been rated as 'Inadequate' and the Care Quality Commission had serious concerns at the safety of the service.

The department's rating has now been upgraded to 'Good'. Dr Kirsten Jones is a consultant at the hospital:

  1. West Country (W)

Extra ambulances to cope with Easter demand

Credit: PA

More than 700 extra ambulance staff have been hired this weekend to cope with predicted record levels of 999 calls.

15,000 incidents are expected

The South West Ambulance Service is putting on an extra eighteen ambulances every day over the Easter break. Health bosses are urging people to avoid A&E unless absolutely necessary.

With extra staff on duty, around the clock, we're ready. But the truth is, we have a finite number of ambulances and highly-trained staff available. This means we will, as always, focus on those patients with a life-threatening condition.

– Ken Wenman, Chief Executive, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

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West hospitals declare 'black alert' status

Health and social care services across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire have reached the highest level of demand known as a ‘system wide black alert’.

Credit: Peter Byrne / PA

The Clinical Commissioning Group's of the three areas are asking members of the public to think first before calling a 999 ambulance and to attend hospital A&E with only minor ailments or illness.

The black escalation status on the local health system follows "high levels of attendances at local A&E departments over the weekend."

Members of the public with only minor ailments and illness can help themselves by the choosing:

  • SELF CARE AND PHARMACY - Treating themselves with over the counter remedies from their local pharmacist.
  • NHS 111 - Calls to the NHS 111 telephone helpline are free and the service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
  • MINOR INJURY UNITS - Minor injuries units are available in Bristol, Clevedon and Yate offering fast, local treatment of minor injuries such as strains, sprains and broken bones.

Doctors in Taunton form picket line

Junior doctors across the West have begun their first 48 hour strike.

The row is over new contracts and weekend pay. These are doctors on the picket line in Taunton, Somerset today.

A picket line in Taunton this morning. Credit: ITV West Country

NHS England says consultants and nurses will provide cover but some non-emergency treatments have been cancelled.

Credit: ITV West Country

West's junior doctors begin 48 hour strike

Credit: ITV West Country

Junior doctors across the South West will walk out on strike again this morning (9 March) from 8am.

It's the latest action in a row over new contracts. The BMA say their striking against the imposed changes in pay for unsocial hours, claiming it devalues the work doctors do on evenings and weekends.

Picket line in Taunton from the second strike action taken in February. Credit: ITV West Country

This will be the first 48 hour strike, ending at 8am on Friday.

Hundreds of non-emergency operations and appointments have been cancelled, but emergency cover is still being provided.

Credit: ITV West Country

Meanwhile, all hospitals in Somerset remain on Black Alert - meaning they're all struggling to cope with unprecedented demand for services.

Patients have been urged to stay away from A & E unless it's a genuine emergency.

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