Minor injury unit at Welsh hospital announces sudden closure because of staff shortage
A minor injury unit at a Welsh hospital is to stay shut until further notice because of "staffing issues".
The unit at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, near Mountain Ash, will temporarily close on Wednesday, September 8.
Health chiefs at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said those who need treatment should head to their nearest A&E department instead. For people in the area this would mean an 18 mile journey to Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.
While no details have been given on when the unit will re-open, bosses hope the situation will be resolved quickly.
A spokesman said: "The minor Injuries Unit at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon will be temporarily closed from tomorrow until further notice.
"If you have a minor injury that needs urgent treatment and you would normally go to Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, you should instead go to the A&E department at your nearest hospital instead – for most people, this will be Prince Charles Hospital.
"The temporary closure is due to short term staffing issues which we anticipate will be rapidly resolved. We will let you know as soon as the unit reopens.
"As usual, we would ask you to attend A&E or minor injuries only when necessary. If it’s not urgent, you can use the NHS 111 symptom checker to get the care you need quicker: 111.wales.nhs.uk "
Health chiefs have not yet explained the nature of the staffing issue - whether it sickness related or due to other factors, such as self-isolation.
However, news of the annoucement has been met with dismay but people living in the area.
One person said: "Prince Charles A&E is bad enough as it is... I get we are in a pandemic, but these issues have been around well before Covid, more needs to be done to make the NHS the service it should be."
Another added: "Heaven help Prince Charles Hospital."
While it remains unclear if the staffing issues are a knock on effect of Covid, the news comes amid continued pressures on the NHS in Wales.
In June, Professor Kelechi Nnoaham, director of public health at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said contending with the dual issue of coronavirus and routine care meant NHS bed occupancy had been stretched to their very limits.
And Hywel Dda University Health Board - which manages healthcare in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion - asked people to stay away from its A&Es if possible due to "very high levels of demand".