by Ellen Grindley
Brixham Hospital’s minor injuries unit will close for good at the end of this month, it has been confirmed.
Torbay NHS Trust has announced the unit will shut permanently from July 28, but the site will continue to operate as a health and wellbeing centre.
And from July 31, X-ray facilities at the port’s hospital will also cease.
This will mean patients from Brixham will have to travel to the nearest MIU facility at Totnes Hospital, which will from then be operational 9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday. Newton Abbot Hospital X-ray will be open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm at weekends.
The NHS trust has confirmed that Brixham will become a ‘clinical hub’ from that date under the sweeping changes to healthcare provision.
Liz Davenport, department chief executive and chief operating officer for the trust, said: “The operating hours we have planned for community radiology services have been driven by severe staff shortages.
“In spite of a sustained recruitment drive, we have been unable to fill all of our vacancies.
“The lack of radiographers is a national problem, not just something we are facing here in Devon.
“We must put patient safety first and these proposals aim to consolidate our staffing so that we can get the maximum cover across the three MIU sites.
“We have to balance patient safety with adequate service provision.
“Please be assured that we are planning to make the most of the resources we currently have while maintaining safe standards.
“People need to be able to get x-rays when they are referred, so we are doing our best to provide an x-ray service at each MIU site, balancing patient safety with likely demand.
“We also need people to use our MIUs in the right way.
“We know some people attend MIU when they could have seen a pharmacist or their GP, so over the coming months we will be working to direct people to the most appropriate place for their needs.”