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Report calls for hospital to reopen minor injuries unit

26 May 2022 3 minute read
Chepstow Hospital. Photo via Google

Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter

A minor injuries unit should be re-introduced at Chepstow Community Hospital following new figures showing a growing demand for the service, a council report has claimed.

Chepstow Town Council has called for an urgent review into re-opening the unit, which was closed in 2011.

A town council report says population growth, with new housing developments in the pipeline, and the planned closure of the minor injuries unit (MIU) in Lydney, in the Forest of Dean but close to the Welsh border, should be considered in the review.

It says Aneurin Bevan University Health Board closed the unit in 2011 based on there being an average of seven patient visits per day.

But Freedom of Information (FOI) requests show that before the pandemic, there were 8,411 patient visits to the six MIUs at Royal Gwent, Neville Hall, Ystrad Mynach, Ebbw Vale, Lydney and Southmead hospitals.

This equates to an average of 23 visits per day, based on the units being open 365 days per year.

Population growth

The town council report says this number is likely to rise due to expected population growth and the expected closure of the unit in Lydney.

“It is not unreasonable to project that a Chepstow based MIU would see in excess of 11,000 MIU patient visits per annum, or around 29 per day,” the report says.

It adds: “Evidence provided by the FOI, together with the growth in population since 2019 and change population demographics, indicates a serious review should be undertaken to planning a progressive, economic and safe opening up of minor injury services at CCH (Chepstow Community Hospital).

“Such a change would assist in meeting Welsh Government policy of bringing care closer to the home and national policy in reducing carbon emissions.”

Chepstow councillor Armand Watts said there is strong support in the town for bringing back the MIU.

“It’s 19 miles to the MIU in Newport,” he said. “That’s the furthest point to travel to any MIU across the Gwent region.

“This is what we are concerned about.

“The MIU was promised to us. It was part of the original package of the hospital.”

Monmouth MP David Davies has backed the town council’s call, and written to minister for health and social services, Eluned Morgan calling for a review.

He said that he is continuing to receive complaints about The Grange University Hospital in Llanfrechfa.

“We should be opening up minor injury units to help ease pressure, so I fully support Chepstow Town Council’s request for a review,” he said.

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: “We have received a formal letter from Chepstow Town Council on this matter.

“We will be reviewing the information they have provided and will respond to them accordingly.”

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