Dorset Healthcare Trust which runs Swanage Hospital has announced that the temporary reduced opening hours of the minor injuries unit over the summer, will now remain until the end of March 2024.
In July 2023, the opening hours at the MIU were reduced on a temporary basis to 9 am to 6 pm, instead of 8 am to 8 pm. The measure was only meant to last until September 2023.
It is possible to turn up at the MIU at Swanage Hospital but it is preferred that patients book first via the phone line 111
The trust says that staffing shortages have affected its ability to run the unit for longer hours and the new times will now remain while it addresses its staffing issues.
Dorset Healthcare’s service director for Integrated Community Services Jane Elson said:
“We really value this service and know how important it is to the community – we value their support and fully understand their concern about this change.
“We reluctantly took this decision to ensure our hard working staff are supported to run the unit safely and effectively. We aim to extend the hours again when it is safe to do so.”
Swanage Hospital viewed from the garden
Dorset Healthcare claims that a review of the number of people attending the Swanage MIU during 8 am to 9am and 6 pm to 8 pm for the two years from April 2021 to March 2023 shows that on average there were between 1 and 5 people attending during these hours each day.
It says that the figures also show that demand tends to be lower at these times during winter, reflecting the increase in the summer population in Swanage.
The MIU at Victoria Hospital in Wimborne is operational from 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week
Care available at Wimborne or Poole
Dorset Healthcare advises that people can still access care outside the hours of 9 am to 6 pm via the 111 service and other MIUs such as Wimborne, where longer opening hours are available. The Urgent Treatment Centre at Poole Hospital is also available.
It’s now advised that anyone wishing to attend the MIU at Swanage should ring 111 first to book an appointment.
Prior to the Covid pandemic in 2020, patients were able to just turn up at the MIU for treatment. This is still possible but the preference is for people to book first.
In an emergency or life-threatening circumstances people should ring 999.