Campaign to keep Minehead's MIU open at nighttime

Somerset County Gazette: SIOBHAN Hutchings with Bryan Leaker, who is rallying residents to try and keep Minehead’s Minor Injuries Unit open at night. PHOTO: Steve Guscott. SIOBHAN Hutchings with Bryan Leaker, who is rallying residents to try and keep Minehead’s Minor Injuries Unit open at night. PHOTO: Steve Guscott.

A MINEHEAD man is spearheading a campaign to keep the hospital fully open overnight.

Health bosses have decided to temporarily close Minehead Hospital’s minor injuries unit from 11pm-7am, possibly until August.

Bryan Leaker, who owns The Parks Guest House in the town, has organised a meeting to discuss what action ‘needs to be taken’.

He said: “We need the health bosses to understand that we are fighting for our hospital to be open 24 hours for minor injuries.

“We want everyone from West Somerset to come to the meeting, not just people from Minehead – it affects us all.

“Why they have decided to close it now, when we’re just starting to get the tourists in I can’t understand.

“If they’re prepared to close it now they’re prepared to close it for good.”

The closure is due to a shortage of trained staff and patients may have to travel almost 30 miles to Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital.

Siobhan Hutchings who lives in Ellicombe Meadow, said she was concerned for her children.

The mum of two said: “My son has a disability and requires a blue light to Frenchay in the event of a head injury and my daughter has special needs.

“She had a head injury last year after a fall at home and thankfully I was able to rush her down to MIU for treatment as there was a lot of blood.

“I really dread to think what would have happened if they weren’t there or if my daughter’s injury was far more serious.

“Services in West Somerset seem to be getting more and more stretched, plus the extra pressure on what we do have available coupled with demand from the town, local area and Butlin’s.

“It’s not a nice situation and knowing they’ve taken away a service which is so important without even consulting us is shocking.

“The idea of removing this service altogether is not safe.”

Bryan added: “If you want to have healthcare at night in Minehead please ensure you attend; it could be your child, your family or even you who needs the service, do not leave it to chance.”

Jill Styles, a retired nurse who lives in Minehead worked at Butlins as a relief nurse for ten years before the medical centre there was closed down.

She said: “At peak times we were terribly busy. We got lots of trivial injuries but we also had lots of serious ones.

“I think there will be a great strain on the people in West Somerset with the closure of the MIU at night.

“The nurses there are all specialists, they have extra qualifications and I think people just appreciate the advice that is given there.

“A few Christmases ago I woke up at 2am with pains in my arm and chest.

"My husband took me down to the MUI and they did an ECG and as I was having a heart attack I was taken to Musgrove. We needed that advice.

“If they had advertised for staff I know many other colleagues who would have likely applied.”

The meeting takes place at the Hobby Horse in Minehead on Tuesday (April 1) at 7pm.

Anyone needing transport to the meeting should text 07714836901.

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