ROSS-ON-WYE councillors are calling on county health chiefs to reopen the town’s minor injuries unit.

Wye Valley NHS Trust bosses decided to close the unit at the community hospital from December 3 to provide safe services to patients needing urgent care at Hereford County Hospital.

But some town councillors fear the seasonal closure could pave the way for the town permanently losing the service.

The council backed councillor Anne Taylor’s motion to write to the trust’s chief executive and the local MP.

“The closure is causing a lot of anxiety in the town and on behalf of the residents of Ross and district,” she said.

“I would like to propose that our clerk writes two letters, one to the CEO of Wye Valley NHS Trust explaining our residents’ anxiety and distress with the current closure across the minor injuries unit and request that it is reinstated as a result.

“The second letter to Jesse Norman MP suggesting he work with Wye Valley NHS Trust on our behalf to explore other avenues to alleviate Hereford’s A&E staffing difficulties.”

Health trust data shows the daily average of patients that attend the Ross hospital is around eight a day while the emergency department in Hereford has recently seen more than 200 people daily.

Coun Julian Utting said he was concerned the decision was made in the summer without the council being consulted.

“Five months? Well that’s almost half a year. It’s almost like what’s the point of having a MIU,” he said.

“I think it is the Wye Valley NHS Trust’s ambition to remove the MIU from Ross which I think is very damaging.

“I understand from some of their briefing notes that there are few patients that attend the MIU but that’s probably because it’s closed for nearly half a year every year.”

Coun Harry Bramer said he did not see it as a precursor to the community hospital closing.

“I’m sure that the MP would probably change his political allegiance rather than let that happen,” he said.

“And I would personally feel it would be a terrible thing to lose the hospital but I can understand why this is happening and why it is happening in Leominster too.”

Coun Utting said the Ross staff loaned to Hereford were not actually integrated into the A&E unit.

“They are separate, they don’t have all the equipment that they have here, either,” he said.

“They are sharing two computers, so I can’t actually see that it is going to make much of a difference than if they were here.

Trust chief operating officer Jon Barnes said the extra staff would make a real difference.

“We have a duty to provide safe and efficient care to those who most need it – this decision will help us achieve that,” he said.