THE minor injuries unit at Feilding Palmer Hospital will not reopen, it has been decided.
East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) met on Tuesday to rubber stamp the permanent closure of the unit that shut its doors two years ago amid staffing concerns.
Minor injuries will now be treated by GPs during the daytime while town residents can use the walk in centre in Rugby during the evenings and weekends.
Opening hours at similar centres in Market Harborough, Oakham and Melton Mowbray will also be drastically reduced to evenings and weekends as part of cost-saving measures drawn up by the CCG.
The urgent care centre in Oadby will remain open, but again with reduced hours.
We reported in February how only 525 people used the unit in 2012 ahead of its suspension amid staffing difficulties – the lowest figure of the six units run by the CCG.
Just 15 people turned up to a meeting in February to put forward ideas for its future and a subsequent review of all those units has concluded there was not enough demand to reinstate it to its previous 9am to 9pm seven days a week service.
A report to the CCG’s governing body revealed 83 per cent of the public who responded to the questionnaire selected the proposals approved this week as did Healthwatch Rutland, and Leicestershire and Rutland councils.
Tim Sacks, chief operating officer of CCG, said: “We believe this option will best help us to realise our vision of providing high quality services available closer to home, in the right locations, seven days a week including evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays.
“Our next steps will be to draw up a service specification for would-be providers of urgent care services, and any necessary procurement of services will start, with the new arrangements for urgent care beginning from April 1, 2015.”
The main part of the hospital on Gilmorton Road is run by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and has one ward that provides general rehabilitation and palliative, and end of life care.
Last week the new boss of NHS England Simon Stevens said district general-style hospitals should return to a more prominent role in treating patients within their communities after years of downgrading.