Malton minor injuries unit hours to be cut

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A minor injuries unit at a North Yorkshire hospital is to have its opening hours reduced.

North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust (PCT) faces a £19m deficit by March 2013.

The unit at Malton hospital would close at weekends as part of the trust's attempt to save an extra £10m to avoid the deficit rising further.

Union Unison said the plan could damage patient care. The trust said access to emergency care would not be affected.

Currently the unit at Malton is open seven days a week between 08:00 and 21:30. Under the plan these hours would be changed to 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday.

'No consultation'

The trust said the change in hours would only apply until March 2013 when the PCT would be replaced by four new clinical commissioning groups.

Those groups are working with the PCT to help identify cuts needed to reduce the deficit before they take over next year.

Simon Cox, chief operating officer for NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "We and other CCGs in the area are working together to identity a range of short term measures. One of these is to review the opening times of minor injuries units.

"We are currently in talks with the provider of the minor injuries unit in Malton, York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, to agree an appropriate course of action."

Unison, which represents health workers, said it had not been consulted about the proposals.

Ray Gray, from the union, said: "There will be patients who require the service and will instead have to travel to York or Scarborough or get an ambulance. This is not an ideal solution."

Mr Gray said he believed nine staff at Malton would be affected by the change and might have to be redeployed temporarily to hospitals elsewhere in the county.

The PCT has not released any information about planned changes at the county's other minor injury units at Ripon, Selby and Whitby.

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