A hospital in Dorset is to close its minor injuries unit (MIU) at weekends because of nurse shortages.
The MIU at Bridport Community Hospital, part of Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust, will shut for three weekends, with the first closures on Saturday 20 August and Sunday 21, due to what the trust described as “staffing pressures”.
“Despite our best efforts, it is not possible to safely staff Bridport’s MIU over the next few weekends”
The trust said that problems with staff sickness and unfilled vacancies have “forced” it to temporarily close the unit on Saturdays and Sundays, although it will remain open during the week.
When asked by Nursing Times, the trust confirmed the issue was around nurse shortages.
The trust’s service director for integrated community services, Jane Elson, said: “Our minor injury and urgent treatment service staff have been working exceptionally hard in recent months to help us maintain in-person care at our MIUs, often working additional hours and travelling across the county at short notice to help fill in for colleagues affected by Covid or other staffing issues.
“However, despite our best efforts, it is not possible to safely staff Bridport’s MIU over the next few weekends.”
The unit is expected to return to its regular seven-day opening hours in early September.
“This situation should be resolved in early September, when new staff will be joining us and other colleagues are expected to return from sick leave,” added Ms Elson.
The local public are asked to “bear with us and continue contacting NHS 111 if they have any injuries or ailments which require urgent attention”.
The trust advised patients that if they need urgent face-to-face treatment at the weekends when the Bridport MIU is shut, they can make an appointment at other urgent treatment centres or minor injury units across Dorset.
“This will help people avoid a long wait at one of the county’s emergency departments,” it added.