Despite an expected surge in visitor numbers heading to Purbeck’s beaches, Swanage Hospital minor injuries unit is to temporarily close for two days over the weekend.
Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, is closing the minor injuries unit on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th July 2022.
The entrance to Swanage Hospital
“Covid-related staff absence”
On the Dorset Healthcare website it says:
“Please note that the Minor Injuries Unit at Swanage Hospital will be closed on Saturday and Sunday (16-17 July), due to Covid-related staff absence.”
Other Dorset Healthcare minor injuries units (MIUs) will be open over the weekend at Weymouth, Bridport and Wimborne. The MIU at Shaftesbury is permanently closed at the weekend and the MIU at Sherborne only opens on Sundays 10 am to 4 pm.
There are also accident and emergency (A and E) departments open 24 hours at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester, Poole Hospital and the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.
Staff shortages are causing extreme pressure on the ability for the NHS to deliver care in Purbeck and across Dorset. The recent hot weather is exacerbating the problem with an increased number of people becoming ill due to the heat.
There was a 12 hour wait for A and E at The Royal Bournemouth Hospital on Friday 15th July 2022
“We are seeing more people coming into hospital”
The BBC reported on Friday 15th July 2022, that there was a 12 hour wait at accident and emergency at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, with ambulances queuing outside, waiting to admit their patients.
The hospital’s medical director Dr Tristan Richardson said:
“We are seeing more people coming into hospital. It’s affecting the busy-ness of the A and E department – which was already busy anyway.
“We’ve got staff off with Covid, so we can’t open extra areas to deal with the influx of people, so we are very dependent on people coming in – or not coming in – to try and ease these pressures.”
South Western Ambulance Trust is on level 4 alert due to the pressures it’s facing
Extremely high demand for ambulances
All ambulance services in England, including South Western Ambulance Trust which covers Dorset, have been put on the highest alert level, because of extremely high demand.
The trusts say this is due to a combination of staff Covid absences, hot weather and delays handing patients over to A and E departments.
“Please don’t turn up unannounced at an emergency department or minor injuries unit”
Chief medical officer for NHS Dorset Dr Paul Johnson is warning that emergency departments and minor injuries units are expected to be busy over the weekend. He said:
“When the hot weather arrives, it can sometimes be all too easy to forget that whilst most people enjoy it, the heat and sun can also bring health risks.
“We are asking everyone in Dorset to reduce their risk of becoming ill because of the heat by following our top tips to stay safe, not least to cover up, take on plenty of fluids and think of those, such as young children or older people who may feel the effects of the heat more than others.
“If you do need medical help, please don’t turn up unannounced at an emergency department or minor injuries unit, which are likely to be very busy over the weekend. Please visit 111 online or call 111 in the first instance. You will be assessed and directed to the support you need.”