Two minor injury units shut their doors to patients in the first week of the New Year as nurses had to be redeployed to A&E to cope with winter pressures.
The news comes as part of the latest weekly report on A&E attendances from NHS England, covering the week up to 5 January, and including New Year’s Eve.
The two units, located in Wye Valley NHS Trust, were closed after managers decided the nurses were required in their major emergency department instead.
The report read: ‘For the first time this winter, there have been two reported closures however, these were services that receive patients with minor injuries only. In this instance, Wye Valley NHS Trust took an operational decision to redeploy nursing staff from two minor injury units to support their major Emergency Department on a temporary basis.’
The report further showed that the service on the whole missed the 95% limit for achieving the four-hour wait target, having come within the limit in the previous week covering the Christmas holiday.
According to the report, 94.3% of patients were seen within four hours, down from 96.4% the week before. However, the week saw a slightly higher number of attendances, at 387,468 compared to 372,139 the previous one.
Dame Barbara Hakin, NHS England’s deputy chief executive, said: ‘The first few weeks of the calendar year are generally the toughest for the NHS, but this week’s figures, the first week in quarter four, are over a percentage point better than the same week last year. This is hugely encouraging for patients and follows an excellent performance over the Christmas holiday period.’