The Minor Injuries Unit at Swanage Community Hospital in Queens Road will no longer allow people to turn up without an appointment.
In a change to its services, the NHS services in Dorset says this is to help minimise the spread of coronavirus and to help it deal with any increase in patient numbers caused by the outbreak.
Likewise, Swanage Medical Practice will only be able to see patients who have an appointment. Also some non-essential NHS services across Dorset, will reduce or close, to concentrate more resources on its most essential services.
Dr Steve Tomkins, Medical Director for Dorset HealthCare, said:
“We will be looking at providing services in different ways to meet the needs of patients, families and communities.
“Some of our staff will be re-deployed from their usual services to areas where their expertise is most needed, and we are working with teams across Dorset’s NHS system to manage any impact this may have on patients.
“If you have an ailment or injury which requires urgent care, please call your local MIU or 01305 762541 and you will either be given advice or be booked in for a face-to-face appointment at the appropriate site.
“If you need GP services, please refer to your practice website for information on how to access GP care. If you do not have online access, please phone your GP instead. The clinical staff in your GP surgery will speak to you on the phone to assess your medical need and how to manage it.”
All non-urgent elective operations suspended
Hospitals in Dorset, have also suspended all non-urgent elective operations for at least three months and there are new restrictions on visiting patients.
Dr Tomkins added:
“We know many people will be unsettled and concerned by changes to NHS services, and fully understand that. However, these changes are absolutely necessary to ensure we can effectively manage the current outbreak, keep people safe and, ultimately, save lives.
“We will be contacting people about cancelled operations and appointments, and anyone else directly affected, as soon as possible.
“In the meantime, please remember that our staff are extremely busy at present dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 and that you should call upon NHS services only when absolutely necessary. This will help us to help you.
“We thank everyone for their patience and understanding at this challenging time for everyone.”
Emergency departments at Poole and Bournemouth remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for serious conditions and injuries.
The phone services also remain available as normal – NHS 111 phone number for those who are not sure what support they need, and the 999 phone number for anything life threatening.