All three MIUs have seen a decline in the number of patients attending since the start of the COVID-19 crisis with patient numbers at Paulton MIU dropping by 75 per cent and attendance at Chippenham and Trowbridge experiencing a similar decline.
Staff employed at the units will be redeployed to help look after patients across the local health and care system.
Given the recently low attendance, the temporary closures are not expected to present problems for local people and the units will reopen when circumstances permit.
Patients with minor injuries should visit the NHS 111 online service. This will provide advice on where to go for the best care for their symptoms. People should only phone 111 if they cannot access the 111 online service.
Those patients who feel that they need a GP appointment should call their local GP practice and are likely to be offered a phone or video consultation in the first instance, unless a face-to-face appointment is absolutely necessary.
No-one with COVID-19 symptoms should attend any medical setting unless explicitly directed to do by the NHS 111 service or a 999 call operator.
Of course, if you feel your symptoms genuinely require emergency treatment, you should always seek help from your nearest hospital.
Douglas Blair, Managing Director of Wiltshire Health and Care, which runs the MIUs in Chippenham and Trowbridge, said:
“As the local health and care system faces up to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, our top priority is to focus on caring for the sickest patients in our community.
“In order to do this, we have to constantly review our services with the aim of ensuring that as many frontline clinical staff as possible are available to provide care for those who need it most.
“As a result, we have taken the decision to temporarily close our MIUs in Chippenham and Trowbridge so we can more usefully redeploy our staff to where they can help as many people as possible.”
Kirsty Mathews, Managing Director of Virgin Care in Bath and North East Somerset, which runs the MIU at Paulton Hospital said:
“Over recent weeks we have seen a far smaller number of patients attending our MIU as local people increasingly follow self-care advice and seek help from the online 111 service.
“This reduction in demand means we are able to redeploy our hard working and highly skilled staff so they can help patients in other health and care settings.”
Tracey Cox, Chief Executive of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (BSW CCGs) said:
“I would like to assure local people that the closures of these MIUs have been put in place as a temporary measure and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis with a view to reopening the units as soon as it is feasible and sustainable for us to do so.
“The NHS and its partners across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire are working together to ensure the services we provide have the resources and resilience they need to deal with the problems posed by COVID-19.”