People in Ashburton and surrounding areas will have to use the minor injuries units at Newton Abbot hospital or Totnes hospital following the decision to extend the suspension of the minor injuries service at Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Community Hospital for a further 3 months
The decision to temporarily relocate the service to neighbouring facilities was taken in July 2014 due to severe staffing difficulties which unfortunately have not yet been resolved
Dr Adam Morris, Medical Director at Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care Trust, which runs the minor injuries services, explained: “When we made the decision to temporarily suspend the service last year it was made with the intention it would be a short-term measure. Unfortunately, the national shortage of qualified staff is having an impact on us recruiting to rural locations. We cannot resume the service until it is safe to do so, nor can we return to the unsustainable spend on temporary agency staff to fill this gap.”
GP commissioners of services have supported the extension of the suspension, saying local people have been understanding about the situation and have discussed it with the Moor to Sea locality, part of South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group.
Dr Ben Titford, Ashburton GP and lead for the Moor to Sea locality, said: “We got together with the town council, League of Friends, voluntary sector, patient representatives and other interested parties in September last year to discuss this.
“People did agree that the MIU wasn’t providing a service well-used by local people*. We are all talking now about how to make best us of community services, to meet the needs of people in our area.”
All other services provided by Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Community Hospital are continuing as normal. These include inpatient beds, outpatient services, district nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry and neurology.