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No reviving closed unit at Savernake
Great Western and Savernake hospitals chief Bruce Laurie told members of the Friends of Savernake Hospital at their AGM that any chance of seeing the Minor Injuries Unit re-open was dead in the water.
It’s been five years since the unit and a day hospital for elderly patients were closed by the former Kennet Primary Care Trust under its Pathways for Change cost-slashing exercise.
Campaigner Val Compton lost a High Court battle to get the decision reversed and last Wednesday Mr Laurie, chief executive of the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which has taken Savernake Hospital back under its wing, told the Friends AGM there was insufficient use to justify it being re-opened.
Mr Laurie said bed numbers in the Ailesbury Unit at Savernake Hospital, which specialises in half-way care for older people, had gone up from 20 to 30 and will go up to 34 in the next six months.
Responding to a written question from Mrs Compton, who sent her apologies for not being able to attend the meeting, Mr Lawrie agreed there should be a better minor injuries service for Marlborough and for Devizes but said it would not be from the traditional hospital-based units.
“Whatever we get will not be the classic minor injuries unit because, frankly, there is not the through-put to justify this,” he said.
He said the GWH foundation trust was in talks with the GP-led commissioning groups to see how minor injuries services could be improved.
Friends chairman Paul Lefever said that in the widely dispersed East Wiltshire rural community, getting to hospital by public transport for a one-hour appointment could take all day.
With the rising cost of fuel and other pressures on budgets people were finding it more difficult to get to hospital.
“One of the aims of the Friends therefore is to bring medicine to the people rather than people having to go the medicine,” Mr Lefever said, calling for more medical services to be made available in places like Savernake Hospital.