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Dorset healthCare

Dorset HealthCare is temporarily closing its minor injuries services (MIUs) in Blandford, Portland and Sherborne – the Yeatman Hospital – from Tuesday, 4 January, it has announced.

The healthcare body says the temporary changes are being made to ensure the services are ‘safe and reliable’ through the winter months following existing staffing difficulties made ‘considerably more challenging by Covid-19 related absences’.

Staff from the temporarily closed units will help support the MIUs at Shaftesbury – the Westminster Memorial Hospital – and Wimborne hospitals, which will have extended opening hours of 8am-8pm, Monday-Sunday.

Bridport and Swanage MIUs, as well as the Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) based at Weymouth Hospital, will continue operating as usual.

Dorset HealthCare  says these changes to MIU arrangements will be reviewed at the end of March 2022 and will need to take account of our ongoing experiences with the global pandemic.

Jane Elson, Dorset HealthCare’s Service Director for Integrated Community Services, said: ‘This is a temporary change and an essential one. As we continue to respond to the pandemic these changes will help us manage the current impacts of COVID-19 while still providing good access to MIU services across the county. We have thought carefully about these changes and they are being made in line with where we are seeing the greatest and the least demand for these services.

‘It is not a decision we have taken lightly. At the forefront of this change are our patients and communities. We need to ensure we can provide a safe, reliable and robust service for people who need urgent care and treatment.

‘We thank everyone for their understanding and co-operation at this challenging time.’

The planned changes come following a previous change to the way the public are asked to access MIU services.

If a member of the public has an ailment or injury that requires urgent care, they are now asked to call 111 or visit www.111.nhs.uk in the first instance. 111 staff will assess the person’s needs and make sure they get the best treatment at the right time, which might include booking an appointment at an MIU.

All of the MIUs are now bookable services. If a person turns up unannounced at an MIU, they will be assessed but could be directed elsewhere or given an appointment later that day or the next.

For anything life-threatening, people should always call 999 for immediate assistance.

As of Tuesday, 4 January Dorset MIUs and Weymouth’s UTC will be open as below:

· Weymouth’s Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) – 8am – 8pm, Monday – Sunday

· Bridport Hospital – 9am – 6pm, Monday – Sunday

· Swanage Hospital – 8am – 8pm, Monday – Sunday

· Westminster Memorial Hospital (Shaftesbury) – 8am-8pm, Monday-Sunday

· Victoria Hospital (Wimborne) – 8am-8pm, Monday-Sunday

· Blandford, Portland and the Yeatman (Sherborne) hospitals – closed.

Further details about the MIUs and Weymouth’s UTC, plus the county’s Emergency Departments, are available at www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/miu

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