FINANCE: South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula Clinical Commissioning Group is to reduce the opening hours of two minor injury units to “free up” approximately £300,000 a year, it has announced.

The units at Sir Robert Peel Hospital in Tamworth and Lichfield’s Samuel Johnson Hospital are currently open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The CCG said the move, effective from April, will see the Sir Robert Peel site’s unit open from 8am to 10pm and Samuel Johnson Hospital’s unit open from 8am to 9pm.

The group said it had seen research which showed that outside of these hours both units were visited by less than one patient an hour on average.

It added that these patients could often been seen by more appropriate alternative services.

As part of the plans an out of hours doctor will be stationed in Tamworth during the night.

CCG chair Dr John James said: “Demand for urgent and emergency care services across the country is increasing and such services need to change to make them easier for patients to see the right person, first time when they need it.

“They also need to be financially sustainable. The [units] are an important part of local NHS services, but we cannot justify opening them at times when they are so little used and when other alternatives, such as NHS 111 and the GP out of hours service, are available.

“This limited closure at a time of extremely low usage will allow considerable resources to be used elsewhere.”