"In the last 24 hours, I have had a surge in enquires regarding Totnes hospital.
Please see my thoughts on the matter below:
The prolonged closure of this service is of great concern to me. The initial decision by Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust was made to pool resources during the pandemic to optimise the local NHS response. The trust has done a fantastic job and such a decision at the time was vindicated.
However, the wisdom in keeping the MIU closed now is, is my opinion, waning. As such, I asked a written parliamentary question of the Health Secretary on 29th September on this matter. I received a response earlier this month asking, “what steps he is taking to reopen town-based minor injuries units that were closed in the initial response to the covid-19 outbreak”. The answer stated as follows:
“In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, a number of type 3 and 4 services have been temporarily closed or reconfigured due to a number of issues related to the outbreak. For example, reduction in footfall, requirement to redeploy staff due to system pressures elsewhere or sites unable to comply with social distancing guidelines.
Taking into consideration pressures associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, the re-opening and reconfiguration of services is being led locally and reviewed on an ongoing basis, supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement regions”.
Following this response, I have written to the Chief Executive of the Trust regarding the future of Totnes MIU and am currently awaiting a reply.
I have also written to the Health Secretary separately this week and requested a meeting seeking reassurance that the Government is following the situation closely, as I am, to ensure local NHS services can reopen as soon as possible when there is little need to keep them closed.
I hope this reassures residents that not only am I keeping a close watch on the situation, I am also taking proactive steps to get answers to these questions which I know concern many local people. Travelling to Newton Abbot to access a MIU from Totnes and the surrounding area is not acceptable, nor in many cases, practicable.
I would also like to reassure residents that since being elected I have been a strong advocate for local rural healthcare provision, and I do not intend to stop asking about this issue until we have the answers Totnes and South Devon require. Please see below a link to all the written questions I have asked in Parliament. You will find some of them relate to rural healthcare.