Dorset Healthcare, the trust that runs Swanage Hospital, has announced that the minor injuries unit (MIU) will be open for less time over the summer.
Despite Swanage’s population increase over the summer from around 10,000 residents to an estimated 50,000 due to an influx of visitors, the minor injuries unit hours are to be reduced to 9 am to 6 pm daily until the end of August, instead of the current 8 am to 8 pm opening time.
A sign with the new opening hours of the MIU has been put up on the hospital’s front door
“Due to staffing challenges, we are reducing the opening hours”
In a statement released on Monday 19th June 2023, a spokesperson from Dorset Healthcare said:
“Unfortunately, due to staffing challenges, we are reducing the opening hours at Swanage Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit this summer.
“It will now be open every day from 9 am to 6 pm, instead of 8 am to 8 pm, until the end of August. This change will be regularly reviewed and if we are able to return to normal opening times sooner, we will do so. We will keep the community informed.
“If you require urgent care for an injury or illness which is not life-threatening, please do not turn up unannounced – call 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk for an initial assessment. If someone’s life may be at risk, call 999 immediately.”
While Dorset Healthcare prefers patients to ring 111 first and book an appointment, it is possible to go straight to Swanage Hospital’s minor injuries unit for assessment.
The change to the hours is with immediate effect.
As it’s a temporary change, the main sign with the MIU opening hours has not been altered for now
“Put more pressure on the emergency services”
Chair of Friends of Swanage Hospital Deirdre Selwyn said:
“This is disappointing news. The Friends have been actively working with Dorset Healthcare and the commissioners known as the Integrated Care Pathway over the last week to find a way to keep the MIU open from 8am to 8pm but despite our best efforts, a solution has not presented itself.
“We are just about to head into our busiest time for Swanage Hospital’s MIU. Typically during the summer, people visit the beach, pick up a minor injury and then head up to the MIU to get treatment. Reducing the hours, especially in the evening will only put more pressure on the emergency services.
“It will have a knock on effect for an already busy Poole Hospital accident and emergency department, as well as the ambulance service, as many will ring 999 instead.
The Friends of Swanage Hospital have worked hard to invest in the facilities at the hospital including the outdoor space
“Not enough suitable affordable accommodation over summer in Swanage”
“However, without a way to resolve the current staffing issue, there is no easy answer. Dorset Healthcare is bringing in staff from other areas and I’ve been assured that bank staff from Swanage will not be sent elsewhere.
“The big picture is that there’s not enough suitable affordable accommodation over summer in Swanage to enable more nurses to live in the town and work at the hospital.
“If there is anyone who is a suitably qualified registered nurse or paramedic who lives in or near Swanage, who has recently stepped back from their profession but would still be interested in working shifts in the MIU, Dorset Healthcare would love to hear from them.
“Dorset Healthcare would also like to hear from any landlords in Swanage who can offer accommodation to key workers over the summer. The rent will be paid by the trust.
“Swanage Hospital and all the work that the staff do, are very appreciated by the community and new members of the team are warmly welcomed.”