John wrote the following for The Bristol Evening Post….
It used to be that, when it came to local healthcare, relations between Weston and Bristol were pretty chilly. There wasn’t much trust, because Weston’s local GPs and hospital doctors used to feel Bristol looked down at them, and took the lion’s share of any resources that were going. It was all the same arguments that we used to hear in the bad old days of Avon and, frankly, it was time to move on.
So I’ve been genuinely pleased to see a fundamental change over the last several months. The old, zero-sum thinking that whatever was good for Bristol must be bad for Weston, or the other way around, has pretty much gone. People are realising that if Weston’s hospital and broader healthcare system is working well, they help take the heat and stress off Bristol’s hospitals because they won’t get swamped with extra emergency patients from North Somerset. And, to return the favour, Weston can take more of Bristol’s routine and planned treatments and operations (things like hip or knee surgery) so Bristol has more scope for the rare and unusual stuff that’s best done in a full-scale teaching hospital like the BRI.
The best example is Bristol and Weston’s health Commissioners (that’s the people who manage our local health cash to make taxpayer’s money go as far as possible), who have decided to merge. Even better, every North Somerset GP practice backed the plans, which would have been unthinkable a few years back. And the new, combined team are publishing a fresh approach to integrate Bristol and Weston’s healthcare into a close-knit team at last. As far as I’m concerned, from Weston’s point of view it’s long overdue. We’re all in this together, as the saying goes!