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Proposals to close minor injuries unit from 1am to 7am at Nevill Hall Hospital

GWENT could be left with just one 24-hour Minor Injuries Unit if plans to close the centre at Abergavenny’s Nevill Hall Hospital overnight are approved.

Currently both the Royal Gwent Hospital, in Newport, and Nevill Hall operate the emergency nurse-led services, that can treat injuries that are not life or limb-threatening, around the clock. The Grange Hospital, in Cwmbran, has an emergency unit that treats and receives more seriously injured patients.

The Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, that runs NHS services in Gwent, is proposing to close the unit at Nevill Hall overnight, possibly from early next year. It would then operate for 18 hours a day, from 7am to 1am seven days a week, which would be in line with the temporary opening hours introduced at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr in Ystrad Mynach during the Covid pandemic, which had also been a 24-hour service.

a map of hospital locations in gwent
A map, produced by the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, showing where hospitals, minor injury units and the emergency department are located

The health board is running a consultation on closing the Nevill Hall unit during the earliest hours of the morning and making Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr’s current 7am to 1am opening hours permanent. According to the health board only around one patient a night attends Nevill Hall’s Minor Injuries Unit between 1am and 7am.

It says from April 1 last year to August 14 this year daily attendance at the Nevill Hall unit was between 36 and 68 patients which works out at two per hour based on a 24-hour service. The Royal Gwent in Newport had the busiest Minor Injuries Unit with between 75 and 140 patients attending per day, over the same period, which is four per hour on a 24-hour basis. Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr saw between 51 and 90 patients per day which worked out at three per hour during its 7am to 1am operating hours.

The units receive around 50 per cent of all urgent and emergency care patients across the health board. Information published by the board states it doesn’t expect a negative impact on either the unit at the Royal Gwent or emergency department at the Grange hospital, which is 14 miles from Nevill Hall.

It states: “Because very few patients attend Nevill Hall Minor Injuries Unit between 1am and 7am, the health board does not expect many more attendances at Royal Gwent Hospital MIU or the Grange University Hospital Emergency Department as a result of the changes.”

Though the Royal Gwent is 20 miles from Nevill Hall the board expects patients will travel to Newport and has stated it should also be remembered the Grange is intended to treat those with the most serious conditions. Closure of the Nevill Hall Unit will also mean longer journeys for patients from Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire and parts of south Powys if they need to attend a minor injuries unit between 1am and 7am.

The board has stated: “We expect that patients who would previously have attended Neveill Hall MIU during 1am and 7am (approximately one per night) would now attend Royal Gwent Hospital MIU. It is worth noting that patients with minor injuries should attend Royal Gwent Hospital MIU during these hours and should only attend the Grange University Hospital Emergency Department with a life-threatening illness or serious injury.”

The health board has said it will share feedback collected during the consultation period with patient watchdog Llais Gwent. The body, which has replaced community health councils as the representative group for patients, said: “Once the engagement exercise has ended, we will discuss the feedback with the health board and their proposed next steps.

“We are currently aware that the footfall throughout the nighttime at Nevill Hall is currently very low hence the requirement for engagement, therefore, we would expect little impact on the Grange.”

The health board is to hold meetings on its plans online and in person. In person meetings will take place on Tuesday, October 3 from 5.30pm – 7.30pm at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr Ystrad Mynach. Online meetings via Microsoft Teams will be held on Wednesday, September 27 from 5.30pm to 7pm and Monday, October 2 from 2pm to 3.30pm.

People wishing to join the online meetings can contact the health board via email, abb.engagement@wales.nhs.uk and they can also use the address to send comments on the plans to the board. Under the plans the opening hours of the Minor Injuries Unit at Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan in Ebbw Vale would remain as 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

 

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Proposals to close minor injuries unit from 1am to 7am at Nevill Hall Hospital

a map of hospital locations in gwent
A map, produced by the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, showing where hospitals, minor injury units and the emergency department are located