BARRY Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) will close during NATO Summit week and patients will have to go elsewhere, the health board has confirmed.
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has rubber-stamped a temporary five day closure of the MIU saying the short-term measure would help provide a triage and treat service in Cardiff city centre which will support police and ambulance services during the international event.
The decision means the unit, off Barry’s Colcot Road, will close from Monday, September 1 until Friday, September 5, and reopen again on Monday September 8.
Barry resident Jeff Heathfield, who in 2012 campaigned for the MIU to be open for longer hours, branded the decision a “massive overreaction” and Vale MP Alun Cairns called it “illogical, and very serious.”
Chief operating officer for Cardiff and Vale UHB, Alice Casey, said: “The team has looked at a number of options to try and keep the MIU at Barry Hospital open over these few days but unfortunately it has not been possible.
“The health board would like to apologise to anyone affected by these steps but would reassure them that the staff will be back in the unit on September 8.”
She said patients needing minor injury advice and support during the first week in September should contact their GP or NHS Direct first or visit the emergency units at Bridgend’s Princess of Wales Hospital, the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, in Llantrisant, or the University Hospital of Wales (UHW), in Cardiff.
UHW essential services such as urgent cancer services, outpatient diagnostics and elective services will continue as normal and the health board maintained Llandough Hospital services would remain unaffected.
But resident Jeff Heathfield said Barry Hospital was the medical hub of the community and needed to be treated this way.
He said: “To temporary shut the hospital because of the NATO conference in Newport is a massive over reaction. The consequences for the Vale community could be unthinkable. If the Barry and Vale community can’t be seen at the Barry hospital at this time, what chances have they got of getting to Cardiff?
“If anything Barry Hospital should be getting medics bought in, not for the people to be shipped out.”
Vale MP Alun Cairns said he had objected to the proposed temporary closure citing concerns about the significant impact and disruption to Barry residents who could have to travel much greater distances for treatment and assessments and be held up in the congestion in Cardiff.
He said: “I simply cannot understand the logic of closing the Minor Injuries Unit in Barry, effectively forcing local residents from the Vale to travel into Cardiff where the pressure on services will be heightened during the NATO Summit.
“I am told that the reason for closure is to provide extra cover in Cardiff. Surely, it would be better to keep Barry MIU open as normal, and extend the unit to residents from the west Cardiff – thus reducing congestion in Cardiff.
“The NATO summit is a wonderful opportunity for the Vale, but it is important that the local health board maintains services locally.”
A Vale Council spokesman said: “The Council has had no involvement the decisions taken by Cardiff and the Vale UHB.”
For details, visit NATO summit pages on the Gov.uk website.