Health fears as Minehead minor injuries unit closes overnight

The last patient will be admitted into the minor injuries unit at 10.30pm.

The last patient will be admitted into the minor injuries unit at 10.30pm.

First published in News Somerset County Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

PATIENTS needing overnight treatment may have to travel almost 30 miles on account of a reduction in opening hours at Minehead Hospital’s minor injuries unit.

Health bosses have temporarily closed the facility overnight – possibly until August – due to a shortage of trained staff.

The unit will close from 11pm to 7am, meaning some patients could travel to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton for care.

Critics claim the move has sparked health fears across West Somerset and could put off the thousands of tourists which visit the area each summer.

Hotelier Bryan Leaker, who owns Parks Guest House, said: “The major issue is there is now no medical care in the area during these hours.

“The nearest hospital is 27 miles away, there are no bus services in the evenings and a taxi is circa £50 each way.”

The Somerset Partnership and Somer-set Clinical Commissioning Group says the unit treats an average of one or two patients a night but Mr Leaker believes this could grow “ten-fold” in the summer.

He added: “Why have they not app-roached an agency to recruit staff for an interim period? They are cost-cutting, putting health at risk where a population of over 65% are aged 60 or older.

“Having lost out in tourism due to flooding we now need to advise visitors: ‘Come to Minehead and West Somerset at your peril’.”

Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for West Somerset and Bridgwater, said it was “completely unacceptable” that one of the remotest hospitals in the county should have no night-time emergency cover.

He said: “Patients will be lucky to get to Taunton in 45 minutes. The ambulance service is so stretched at night that I have heard recent instances where it has taken more than an hour for an ambulance to even get to Minehead, so potentially it could be two hours before casualties are even admitted for treatment.

“This is completely unacceptable, particularly when we are coming up to the holiday season when the local population swells by several thousand.”

A Somerset Partnership NHS Found-ation Trust statement said: “This temporary measure was necessary in order to enable the trust to re-deploy its emergency nurse practitioners, thereby maintaining service quality and better managing the rising day-time demand it has been experiencing in MIUs in Bridgwater and Frome.

“The Somerset Partnership Trust is now actively recruiting four additional emergency nurse practitioners, and hopes to have the newly-recruited staff in post within the next few months.”

Anybody needing treatment outside of these temporary opening hours is advised to call 111 to be directed to the appropriate service.

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:53pm Thu 20 Mar 14

sfj642 says...

I live near Minehead. Last year I had a heart attack at home and it took over two hours to get me to hospital because all the ambulances were in use. I was very lucky but I might not have been.

Closure of the MIU will certainly increase use of the hard pressed Ambulance Service. No doubt Government guidelines will be met, but I really didn't enjoy being one of their 5% of failures.

It isn’t fair on patients or the medics having to deal with the situation.
I live near Minehead. Last year I had a heart attack at home and it took over two hours to get me to hospital because all the ambulances were in use. I was very lucky but I might not have been. Closure of the MIU will certainly increase use of the hard pressed Ambulance Service. No doubt Government guidelines will be met, but I really didn't enjoy being one of their 5% of failures. It isn’t fair on patients or the medics having to deal with the situation. sfj642
  • Score: 3

9:11pm Thu 20 Mar 14

sfj642 says...

P.S. The South Western Ambulance Service have agreed that for well over an hour, all their ambulances were committed and unable to respond to a Category A (or any) emergency.
Closure of the overnight Minehead medical service can only exacerbate this situation and the first call will become a 999 call meaning even fewer ambulances will be available for real emergencies.
My comments are not aimed at the medical staff in any way - it appears to be a major management problem and they are refusing to do anything about it.
P.S. The South Western Ambulance Service have agreed that for well over an hour, all their ambulances were committed and unable to respond to a Category A (or any) emergency. Closure of the overnight Minehead medical service can only exacerbate this situation and the first call will become a 999 call meaning even fewer ambulances will be available for real emergencies. My comments are not aimed at the medical staff in any way - it appears to be a major management problem and they are refusing to do anything about it. sfj642
  • Score: 1

10:38am Fri 21 Mar 14

prickles says...

Don't really know why people are complaining they won't treat u if its to serious. I was on my way to minehead once and my husband started having pains in his chest etc so stopped of at hospital and they said they would call an ambulance for him to be taken to taunton as they didn't deal with things like this. They don't really treat unfortunatly much of anything unlike the old hospital.
Don't really know why people are complaining they won't treat u if its to serious. I was on my way to minehead once and my husband started having pains in his chest etc so stopped of at hospital and they said they would call an ambulance for him to be taken to taunton as they didn't deal with things like this. They don't really treat unfortunatly much of anything unlike the old hospital. prickles
  • Score: 1

11:15am Fri 21 Mar 14

littlemisstidy says...

This plan truly beggars belief !

Didn't Minehead Hospital win a prestigious award when it was first opened ?
Personally I think the hospital is excellent in the limited services it offers, but it should have been built to cater for a little more than just 'minor conditions.'
May I remind these so called decision makers a hospital is an institution for the treatment of sick and injured persons.

Please don't use the excuse we have no suitably qualified staff, advertise if you can't find them !
If people require medical care they should not have the ordeal of a journey to Musgrove late at night
This closure plan is a step too far and should be resisted on all counts because it could affect any one of us living in this area.

I could point out a couple of frivolous design features on which money has been wasted in this hospital, which would have been far better used on treatment services or perhaps finding suitably qualified staff.
This plan truly beggars belief ! Didn't Minehead Hospital win a prestigious award when it was first opened ? Personally I think the hospital is excellent in the limited services it offers, but it should have been built to cater for a little more than just 'minor conditions.' May I remind these so called decision makers a hospital is an institution for the treatment of sick and injured persons. Please don't use the excuse we have no suitably qualified staff, advertise if you can't find them ! If people require medical care they should not have the ordeal of a journey to Musgrove late at night This closure plan is a step too far and should be resisted on all counts because it could affect any one of us living in this area. I could point out a couple of frivolous design features on which money has been wasted in this hospital, which would have been far better used on treatment services or perhaps finding suitably qualified staff. littlemisstidy
  • Score: 0

1:30pm Fri 21 Mar 14

Tinhharris says...

.The commentators above clearly do not know what a minor injury unit is. Minhead has always had a minor injuries unit, not a full blown A&E, even in the previous hospital. This is standard across the county, with full blown A&E at Yeovil and Taunton, and some community hospitals with minor injury units.

Its nothing to do with providing sufficiently trained staff, these units have always been staffed by nurses, some with occasional GP input. The clue is in the name, they are there to treat MINOR INJURIES, NOT EMERGENCIES....as in sprains, minor conditions! The first commentator was let down by the ambulance service, nothing to do with this service, perhaps better management/financing of the ambulance service is an issue here than the community hospital service.

Your maans are meaningless if you don't know what you are moaning about!!!!
.The commentators above clearly do not know what a minor injury unit is. Minhead has always had a minor injuries unit, not a full blown A&E, even in the previous hospital. This is standard across the county, with full blown A&E at Yeovil and Taunton, and some community hospitals with minor injury units. Its nothing to do with providing sufficiently trained staff, these units have always been staffed by nurses, some with occasional GP input. The clue is in the name, they are there to treat MINOR INJURIES, NOT EMERGENCIES....as in sprains, minor conditions! The first commentator was let down by the ambulance service, nothing to do with this service, perhaps better management/financing of the ambulance service is an issue here than the community hospital service. Your maans are meaningless if you don't know what you are moaning about!!!! Tinhharris
  • Score: 1

2:36pm Fri 21 Mar 14

prickles says...

So if its minor injuries doesn't really need to be open all night then. With a town like minehead plus all the people at butlins maybe it should have an a&e department.
So if its minor injuries doesn't really need to be open all night then. With a town like minehead plus all the people at butlins maybe it should have an a&e department. prickles
  • Score: 2

3:12pm Fri 21 Mar 14

sfj642 says...

Tinhharris wrote:
.The commentators above clearly do not know what a minor injury unit is. Minhead has always had a minor injuries unit, not a full blown A&E, even in the previous hospital. This is standard across the county, with full blown A&E at Yeovil and Taunton, and some community hospitals with minor injury units.

Its nothing to do with providing sufficiently trained staff, these units have always been staffed by nurses, some with occasional GP input. The clue is in the name, they are there to treat MINOR INJURIES, NOT EMERGENCIES....as in sprains, minor conditions! The first commentator was let down by the ambulance service, nothing to do with this service, perhaps better management/financing of the ambulance service is an issue here than the community hospital service.

Your maans are meaningless if you don't know what you are moaning about!!!!
Tim - we already have a situation where ambulances are not always available for emergencies; someone with a minor injury now may well dial 999 for help, especially if they are on their own.

In my case, I have discovered that a number of ambulances were used on that night for green emergencies; as the ambulance service will attempt to respond to a 999 call.

How many more will now dial 999 when they need medical help? - and the ambulance service respond with an ambulance? Unless, of course, you are able to guarantee that no more 999 calls will result from the closure of the MIU?
[quote][p][bold]Tinhharris[/bold] wrote: .The commentators above clearly do not know what a minor injury unit is. Minhead has always had a minor injuries unit, not a full blown A&E, even in the previous hospital. This is standard across the county, with full blown A&E at Yeovil and Taunton, and some community hospitals with minor injury units. Its nothing to do with providing sufficiently trained staff, these units have always been staffed by nurses, some with occasional GP input. The clue is in the name, they are there to treat MINOR INJURIES, NOT EMERGENCIES....as in sprains, minor conditions! The first commentator was let down by the ambulance service, nothing to do with this service, perhaps better management/financing of the ambulance service is an issue here than the community hospital service. Your maans are meaningless if you don't know what you are moaning about!!!![/p][/quote]Tim - we already have a situation where ambulances are not always available for emergencies; someone with a minor injury now may well dial 999 for help, especially if they are on their own. In my case, I have discovered that a number of ambulances were used on that night for green emergencies; as the ambulance service will attempt to respond to a 999 call. How many more will now dial 999 when they need medical help? - and the ambulance service respond with an ambulance? Unless, of course, you are able to guarantee that no more 999 calls will result from the closure of the MIU? sfj642
  • Score: -1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree