OBJECTORS battling the threatened closure of Haslemere Hospital’s minor injuries unit now have some impressive “fire power”.
Royal Surrey governors have united to lobby to retain Haslemere’s service, which supports 4,800 patients registered with a Guildford and Waverley GP practice, more than 2,000 registered with a Hampshire GP practices and 400 registered with a West Sussex GP.
Pledging their support, the governors – who include Waverley borough councillor Robert Knowles – voiced “great concerns” about the possible loss of the unit, which is now out to public consultation.
Governors have urged fellow supporters to join them in responding to the consultation by calling for the service to be upgraded to meet the new NHS guidelines – rather than being axed.
Haslemere minor injuries unit has history on its side. It was the first unit to be opened in the country in the 1970s, when the town’s accident and emergency department was transferred to the Royal Surrey.
Also in its favour, the unit is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and has ambulances and Haslemere Health Centre on site, plus an x-ray department.
In a joint statement, governors said: “We are concerned that North West Surrey has four minor injury units, whilst Guildford and Waverley could be left without, despite the unit covering all of Guildford and Waverley, plus parts of East Hampshire and West Sussex.
“If the Haslemere unit was to close, some 200 patients a week would be required to go to accident and emergency at the Royal Surrey or another acute hospital, and governors are worried about the extra pressure on already busy A&Es.
“Governors will therefore be lobbying the CCG, to upgrade Haslemere to an urgent care centre, operating seven days a week for 12 hours a day, providing some equality of service for the residents of the more rural areas of Guildford, Waverley, East Hampshire and Chichester district.”
Haslemere Health Group chairman Ian Doolittle said: “We fully support Royal Surrey County Hospital governors.
“We too want to see Haslemere Hospital become an urgent care centre. The loss of the minor injuries unit would be a terrible blow to the town and the surrounding villages.
“We urge all its users to do all they can to make the case for Haslemere.”
Haslemere League of Friends is also calling for the “vital ” service to be upgraded in its response to the consultation.
A public meeting as part of the consultation will be held at Haslewey, Wey Hill, from 6pm to 8.30pm on September 16.