The minor injuries units at Ripley and Whitworth hospitals are set to close at night time in a controversial move.
From Monday, Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust will close the units – which are open to people with minor injuries such as cuts, strains, bruises and burns – from between 10pm and 8am.
The decision comes after a review found that just one person used the Whitworth unit and only two patients used the Ripley unit overnight.
The trust said the move has been made in light of this “low patient demand” and the need to make the “best use of specialist nursing skills at busy times of the day”.
William Jones, the trust’s director of operations, said: “Providing safe, effective and high-quality services is our number one priority.
“The need for these specialist staff to be available for patients during the day, when numbers are higher, is much greater.
“Furthermore, it is difficult to recruit specialist nurses on a national scale so we need to use our staff as effectively as we can.”
Mr Jones went on to say that “a significant number” of patients attending the minor injuries units overnight had to be referred to other hospitals for treatment.
John Briggs, treasurer of the Ripley Community Hospital League of Friends, said there were arguments for and against closing the town’s minor injuries unit at night.
He added: “It’s disappointing in the fact that there will be a diminishment of a service that’s been in the town for many, many years.
“It is sad but it may be a reflection of the demands and the costs that today’s NHS faces.”
Darley Dale resident Iris Wagstaffe slammed the plans for Whitworth’s minor injuries unit.
She said: “I’m very alarmed by this annoncement.
“This will affect the whole of our local community not just children and young people.”
Anyone with questions about the changes is urged to contact the trust’s patient experience team by calling 01773 525119 or emailing PET@dchs.nhs.uk
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