Re-opening expands Dorset’s Minor Injuries Unit options
Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) services are to resume in Blandford, in the latest phase of reviewing urgent care provision across Dorset.
Dorset HealthCare has re-opened the Blandford Hospital MIU – closed since the advent of COVID-19 – for two days a week.
And, to help relieve pressure on emergency departments in Poole and Bournemouth, extended opening hours at the Victoria Hospital MIU in Wimborne will be maintained.
Dorset HealthCare was forced to close its MIUs at Blandford, Portland and Sherborne hospitals during the pandemic, to help manage the spread of COVID-19 and cope with staff absences. Wimborne opening times were increased, to help compensate.
As restrictions began to ease, Sherborne’s Yeatman Hospital MIU was re-opened five days a week, and now the Blandford unit will be available on Mondays and Wednesdays, 9am-5pm (call 111 to make an appointment).
This means that, collectively, MIU operating hours across Dorset are now back to what they were before the pandemic – just delivered differently.
The move has been agreed in partnership with the county’s integrated care system, NHS Dorset, to help manage demand for urgent care over the winter months. Arrangements will be reviewed again in March.
Despite the partial closure of Dorset’s MIU network, attendances at available units have markedly increased compared to pre-pandemic levels – with almost 93,000 appointments projected for this year compared with just under 57,000 for the whole of 2019.
In particular, figures indicate that the activity previously seen at Blandford and Portland has been absorbed by the MIU at Wimborne and the Urgent Treatment Centre at Weymouth, respectively.
The shift from walk-ins to booked appointments (through NHS 111) also seems to be having an effect, meaning more people are being seen at MIUs instead of long waits at local emergency departments – thus helping to ease the pressure on the busy Dorset health system.
Tim Hodgetts, Dorset HealthCare’s Deputy Director for Integrated Care Services, said:
“We’re delighted to make Blandford Hospital MIU available again for two days each week. It bolsters our MIU network and offers residents greater choice if they need to seek treatment.
“In the meantime, we would continue to urge anyone needing urgent medical help or advice to call 111 in the first instance, rather than just turning up at an MIU. This is our preferred route as it will help us to assess your condition and ensure you get the right support, at the right place, as quickly as possible.
“However, walk-ins will be accepted and assessed but may be directed to a more appropriate service or asked to return to the MIU with an appointment time.”
Emma Wilson, Head of Urgent and Emergency Care at NHS Dorset, added:
“Choosing the right care when you need it could mean you are seen more quickly. If you need to think about the care you require, you almost certainly don’t need to head to an emergency department, where you may have a long wait and also be delaying someone who has a more urgent need.
“Our hospitals are really busy at the moment, so if you think your need is urgent but not a life-threatening emergency, then you could be treated more quickly by calling 111 and if you need face-to-face treatment, our network of UTCs and MIUs can provide this for you.”
Full details of Dorset’s MIUs are available on this website page.
If you think you require urgent medical attention, please call 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk for an initial assessment. If a person’s condition is life-threatening, call 999 without delay.