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Temporary overnight closure of Minehead minor injuries unit extended for six months

The temporary overnight closure of the Minor Injury Unit (MIU) located at Minehead Community Hospital has been extended for six months from 1 November until 1 May 2022. Minehead MIU remains open from 8am – 9pm seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The Trust Board of Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the service, took the difficult decision to extend the closure of the overnight service after considering the work that has been done since the closure of the overnight service began on 1 July 2021.

Dr Matt Hayman, Deputy Medical Director for Somerset NHS Foundation Trust: “We first closed the Minehead MIU temporarily overnight for four months from 1 July because we have concerns about the safety of the overnight service. During that period we undertook to review the service, work with partners and patient and public representatives to look at how we address our safety concerns, quantify and meet the overnight needs of the local area, and propose a way forward that is both safe and operationally robust.

“We have done a lot of work in the last four months but we have more work to do. We have engaged with local people to understand their concerns and the impact of the temporary closure of the overnight service on them. Local people have described long distance and difficulty in travelling to the nearest Emergency Department at Musgrove Park Hospital; difficulty in accessing other NHS services; and the belief that the overnight MIU service is a “safety net” and that by attending the MIU for serious health events like heart attacks patients would have better survival outcomes. The opposite is true. Potentially life-saving treatment is delayed if patients attend an MIU rather than ringing 999 or going to an Emergency Department and delays in treatment can result in poorer outcomes for the patient.

“We have also looked closely to see if the temporary closure has had any impact on other NHS services. We have found no discernable impact on overnight attendances at Musgrove Park Hospital’s Emergency Department, no impact on NHS 111 or the out of hours GP services in the Minehead area and no impact on attendances at the Minehead MIU shortly after it opens at 8am in the morning and shortly before it closes at 9pm at night.

“We will spend the next six months working with Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and the providers of NHS services to look at how we meet the overnight health needs of the population of Minehead in a safe and sustainable way.”