Minor injury units in Wiltshire should stay shut: GP

Doctors in Wiltshire say minor injury units in some of the county's rural hospitals should not reopen.

Despite a campaign to save them, units in Marlborough and Devizes were closed by Wiltshire Primary Care Trust as part of a health service review in 2007.

Devizes Conservative MP Claire Perry is leading calls for them to reopen as GPs are given more power over services.

Market Lavington GP Richard Sandford-Hill said due to a lack of patients the units were an inefficient use of time.

Minor injuries units treat patients with injuries such as sprains, cuts and grazes.

'Not one'

Dr Sandford-Hill said: "We were seeing about less than one patient per hour in these units on average, which is not an efficient use of nurse time. They get de-skilled and the unit then doesn't become safe."

He added: "I've spoken to colleagues about reopening the units and there is not one GP I've spoken to who thinks that would be appropriate."

Mrs Perry said that it cost the NHS more for patients with minor injuries to be treated at a "full service hospital" such as the Great Western in Swindon.

She added she believed it was inconvenient for people in rural areas to be expected to travel to other parts of the county for treatment.

From April 2013, responsibility for many local health services will pass from Wiltshire Primary Care Trust to the county's GPs who will work together as the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

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