Minehead minor injury unit to close overnight for four months

Minor Injury Unit - Minehead Community Hospital
The service will remain open during the day. Credit: ITV News West Country

A minor injuries unit in Somerset will be closed overnight for four months amid safety concerns.

The Minor Injury Unit (MIU) at Minehead Community Hospital will temporarily close overnight for four months from Thursday 1 July.

The MUI will no longer be open from 9pm to 8am, but will remain open during the day between 8am to 9pm.

The unit is the only one open overnight in Somerset. Usually the service that is offered is different to the day. It is staffed by one paramedic and one healthcare assistant.

The overnight paramedic primarily acts as a care navigator. They are not a senior clinical decision maker and therefore unable to access, treat and discharge patients independently. Appropriate first aid can be given.

While the MIU in Minehead provides a well-used service during the day, it is used much less overnight.

The average number of patients seen overnight by a paramedic over the past three years is less than one patient a night (0.9) on average.

Deputy Medical Director for Somerset NHS Foundation Trust Dr Matt Hayman said: "This MIU is one of seven across Somerset. It is the only one open overnight and we have concerns about the safety of the service. We have made the difficult decision to close it overnight for four months.

"We need to take time to review the service and look at how we address those safety concerns, quantify and meet the needs of the local area within our available resources. We will monitor the impact of the overnight closure monthly and report back on our progress to look at options for providing an alternative.

"There have been serious consequences for patients if treatment for conditions like heart attacks, strokes, major trauma and asthma is delayed. During the day, the senior clinicians are able to initiate a range of treatments before transferring the patients to an Emergency Department.

"Overnight, this is not the case. There have been three examples in the past few years when patient outcomes were compromised because of a delay in receiving further treatment.

  • The Minehead Minor Injury Unit will close overnight from Thursday 1 July for four months.

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