HEALTH bosses say they will consider a long term solution to the temporary closures that have been imposed on minor injury units in the county.

The Wye Valley NHS Trust has decided to temporarily close the units at Ross-on-Wye and Leominster community hospitals from November 4.

It will be the third winter in a row that staff have been redeployed to Hereford County Hospital to cope with extra pressure on the emergency services.

But Jade Brooks, Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group acting director of operations, told last week’s governing board they would soon be reviewing the minor injury units’s long term future.

“In light of this being the third year of a temporary closure, I think as commissioners we should give due consideration to a longer term solution,” she said.

“Closing the units every year is not a good use of public funds and indeed it is challenging for both our public and stakeholders to understand.

“During this period of temporary closures I would suggest we need to consider the role of minor injury units in the longer term.

“When the minor injuries units are open they are seeing on average 15 people a day across the two sites combined.”

“Through the A&E delivery board we have considered this temporary closure and we feel we have no option but to support it in the best interest of patient safety and ensuring provision is upheld at our emergency department.”

Mayors across the county criticised health bosses about the lack of consultation over the temporary closures.

Leominster mayor Clive Thomas said the health bosses were undemocratic.

“They haven’t asked us what we think about the temporary closures.We feel like we have been ignored.

“The closure will affect the most vulnerable in Leominster.

“Many people don’t have a car so they can’t get to Hereford very easily. So it could lead to more pressure on the ambulance service with more people dialing 999.”

Ross mayor Jane Roberts said the temporary closures sap people’s confidence in using the services and some in the past have travelled out of the county for treatment.

“People don’t quite know if the service is there with the temporary closures.

“They rely on the service, not only in Ross but also whole hinterland around the town. Some people have had to go to Cinderford in the past instead.”