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Temporary suspension of MIU extended

​The suspension of Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Community Hospital’s minor injury service will remain in place for a further three months. The decision to temporarily relocate the service to neighbouring facilities was taken in July 2014 due to severe staffing difficulties. These have not yet been resolved. Patients are being asked to continue using the minor injury units at Newton Abbot Hospital (8am-10pm seven days a week, seven miles away) or Totnes Hospital (8am-9pm seven days a week, nine miles away).

Dr Adam Morris, medical director at Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care Trust, which runs the minor injuries services, said: “When we made the decision to temporarily suspend the service last year, it was made with the intention it would be a short-term measure. Unfortunately, the national shortage of qualified staff is having an impact on us recruiting to rural locations. We cannot resume the service until it is safe to do so, nor can we return to the unsustainable spend on temporary agency staff to fill this gap.”

GP commissioners of services have supported the extension of the suspension, saying local people have been understanding about the situation and have discussed it with the Moor to Sea locality, part of South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Dr Ben Titford, Ashburton GP and clinical lead for the CCG’s Moor to Sea locality, said: “We got together with the town council, League of Friends, voluntary sector, patient representatives and other interested parties in September last year to discuss this.
“People did agree that the MIU wasn’t providing a service well-used by local people. We are all talking now about how to make best us of community services, to meet the needs of people in our area.”
All other services provided by Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Community Hospital are continuing as normal. These include inpatient beds, outpatient services, district nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry and neurology.
The Trust will report on progress by May 2015.