Several minor injury units in Somerset could be closed down and replaced with a smaller number of ‘urgent treatment centres’, it has been revealed.
The NHS runs seven MIUs across Somerset, including the one at Burnham-On-Sea War Memorial Hospital in Love Lane, which provide health services for people who are unable to see a doctor at short notice and don’t need to go to A&E.
The government is seeking to introduce urgent treatment centres across the UK which will be larger hubs run and staffed by GPs, with longer opening hours and a wider range of services. Since all of Somerset’s MIUs won’t be replaced with the larger centres, some may close over coming years.
Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has begun an ‘engagement programme’ on the proposals as part of its ‘Fit For My Future’ programme, which aims to modernise and streamline the way local health services are delivered in order to address rising demand and demographic changes.
Dr Jane Harris, Head of Communications and Engagement at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “This is an engagement programme in which we are sharing our early thinking about improvements to our community health and care services and asking people to tell us what they think.”
“The engagement programme runs until 12th April and all the feedback we receive will help us to shape future options which will then form the basis of public consultation in the future.”
“There is a lot of helpful information on our website here which addresses many of the concerns that we know local people will have about future changes.”
“I would like to make it clear that no decisions have been taken and we do not have any preferred options in terms of how services will be provided in the future.”
The engagement on community health and care services runs until April 12, with drop-in sessions being held across Somerset.
One session will be held at Burnham-On-Sea War Memorial Hospital on February 18th between 2-4pm with another drop-in session yet to be confirmed.
CCG chief executive James Rimmer says: “We know our health and care services in Somerset are not currently organised in the best way to support people to live independent, healthier lives. Our population is changing and the support they need from our services is changing too.”
“Our services have to adapt to make sure we are meeting the needs not only of people living in Somerset today, but also those of their children and grandchildren in the future.”
Dr Alex Murray, GP and clinical director for the Fit for my Future programme, adds: “We have a real opportunity to design a new way of providing community health and care services that support people to live independent, healthier lives.”
“By having the right services in the right place for people’s needs, which are available at the right time and delivered by the right people we can support people to live well. We can also provide a better working environment for our much valued staff and offer them better development opportunities and support.”
“I would like to reassure everyone that no decisions have been taken and there is a genuine opportunity for the public, voluntary and community organisations and our health and care staff to help us shape our community services for the future.”
“We want to hear from as many people as possible about our early thinking and get their feedback on what matters to them. This is vital to helping us develop our thinking further. Using all the feedback we receive, we will develop a number of ways that Somerset could deliver community health and care services in the future. These will be publicly shared and a formal public consultation will take place.”