THE Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has moved swiftly to reassure Barry’s residents about the town hospital’s future in the wake of NATO disruption.

Residents raised concerns about the long-term future of the Colcot Road facility, after the Barry & District News last week broke the story that the minor injuries unit (MIU) would temporarily close for five days – September 1 to September 5; re-opening on September 8 – while the NATO Summit in Newport is taking place.

The health board said the short-term measure would help provide a triage and treat service in Cardiff city centre which would support police and ambulance services during the international event.

But the temporary MIU closure has led some residents to express concerns that the five-day closure could be a trial for a more permanent measure.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said they feared for the Barry service because staff were being redeployed to the University Hospital Llandough, the Neale and Kent ward had closed, staffing hours appeared to have changed, the restaurant had closed, outpatients wasn’t open every day and the MIU opening times were only as they were following a resident-led campaign to set them at that because hours had been previously reduced.

They added: “Don’t tell me they are not shutting Barry Hospital down slowly.

“It seems as if they are trying to tell us to use large hospitals.”

Chief executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Adam Carins said the NATO Summit was an exceptional situation and great efforts had been made to bring in sufficient support from other health boards to keep the unit at Barry open during that week.

He said: “I would like to personally reassure the people of Barry again that the temporary closure of the minor injury unit is just that – temporary, and that their hospital has an important, long term role in providing care for residents of the Vale of Glamorgan.

“Earlier this year the Vale Community Resource Service was officially opened by the deputy minister for health at the hospital and, whilst there have been changes to some services, there are plans in place to make better use of what is a modern hospital site such as expanding the role of the day unit there.

“The MIU in particular is a valuable asset with some of the best performance statistics in Wales and is one that we actively want to encourage better use of when it reopens on Monday, September 8 and in the future.”

The Vale Community Resource Service has brought together services from the health, social care and voluntary sectors, including a dietician, occupational therapists, a speech therapist, physiotherapists, home care staff, nurses and access to consultant geriatricians.

Vale MP Alun Cairns has written to the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to seek reassurances about Barry Hospital’s long-term future.