Chard Councillor’s anger at cuts to MIU opening times

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Cllr Graham Forsyth – Not impressed by lack of community consultation

The opening hours at Chard’s Minor Injury Unit are being slashed by a third although Health bosses say the measures are temporary. Chard Labour councillor Graham Forsyth, who represents Avishayes ward, believes that the people of Chard have been kept in the dark about it.

Cllr Forsyth who recently used the facility one night last month after he cut his finger with a knife, said “The staff were wonderful. I was unable to drive, so my wife drove me up and we were home again, bandaged up and a little bit wiser, within the hour.”

The unit, at Chard Community Hospital on Crewkerne Road, will now close at 6pm instead of 9pm, meaning patients will be forced to travel to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton or Yeovil District Hospital for care after hours. Previously open seven days a week from 9am to 9pm but then reduced to 10am to 6pm, the last patient can be admitted to the unit at 5.30pm. Critics believe the move will put more pressure on accident and emergency departments and is a retrograde step for the community as it regularly deals with injuries such as minor burns, head injuries, broken bones, animal bites and sporting strains and sprains. Anyone who needed treatment outside of these temporary opening hours was advised to call 111 to be directed to the appropriate service.

 Lack of public engagement

Following on from a debate on BBC Somerset Sound (Wed 26th March), regarding the reduced opening hours for the Chard MIU the Clinical Commissioning Group did state that they hope to recruit new staff and revert to the normal opening hours within 4 to 6 months. In response to the charge of lack of public engagement they stated that they had put up notices at the hospital and informed the local doctors, ambulance service and the NHS 101 phone service. Cllr Forsyth was not impressed and responded “These changes were not communicated to residents or councillors within the community and they are concerns that the resilience of various systems such as doctors’ surgeries, including nurse appointments and the pressure on the ambulance service will be compromised during this period.The affects will be felt in the causality units of Taunton and Yeovil main hospitals as people are forced to travel some 18 miles for treatment.”


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