Joint statement from CEOs of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group: Temporary closure of St Albans Minor Injuries Unit as part of COVID-19 response
Our top priority – as we respond to the challenge of the COVID-19 outbreak – is to provide the best care we can to local people under these very difficult circumstances.
This means that we are constantly reviewing our services, with the aim that as many clinical staff as possible are available to treat the sickest patients. In the case of the minor injuries unit (MIU) at St Albans Hospital, this was attended by fewer than ten people per day over the last week. After careful consideration, we have decided that the skills of the staff at the MIU could be better directed to care for patients at Watford General Hospital who are very unwell, or to fill the roles of colleagues who are now working in newly created areas for patients suffering from severe COVID-19 symptoms.
The MIU will therefore close at its normal time on Friday 3 April and will remain closed for at least the whole of April. Given the recently low attendances we are not expecting that the temporary closure will present problems for large numbers of local people. It will reopen when circumstances permit.
The advice for patients with minor injuries is to visit https://111.nhs.uk/. This is the 111 online service. This will provide advice as to where a patient should go for their symptoms. The 111 phone service is also available, but of course this is a busier than usual.
Those patients who feel that they need a GP appointment should call their local GP practice and they are likely to be offered a phone or video consultation in the first instance, unless a face-to-face appointment is necessary. During evenings, weekends and bank holidays calls to GP practices will be automatically routed to the GP extended access service. Patients who have sustained serious injuries and/or are suffering blood loss or a serious deterioration should call 999.
No-one with COVID-19 symptoms should attend any medical setting unless explicitly directed to do by the NHS 111 service or the 999 call operator.
We are sure that everyone will support all the efforts being made to focus our resource on where it is most needed.
Please share this information with others within your organisation as appropriate.
Christine Allen David Evans
Chief Executive Interim Chief Executive Officer
West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group