Think NHS 111 first – that’s the message for anyone needing urgent care as Dorset re-opens its full network of minor injuries units (MIUs) on 21 June for pre-booked appointments.

NHS 111 is the way you can access the right treatment, in the right place, at the right time and will now be the gateway to the county’s minor injuries units (MIUs), along with a range of other services.

Rather than having to look up different MIU phone numbers, you can now go online or call 111 – and if you need to go to an MIU, the 111 service will book you in.

With national restrictions now gradually being eased, all of the MIUs run by Dorset HealthCare will revert to their pre-COVID opening hours. People are asked not to just turn up, but to call for a telephone assessment first – a system which has worked well during the pandemic.

This will ensure people won’t have unnecessary waits and will help to avoid crowded waiting rooms. It will also mean some patients can be treated remotely and will not need to make an unnecessary journey.

Also this summer, Dorset County Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) will temporarily relocate its minor injuries team to Weymouth Hospital while vital refurbishment work takes place at Dorchester ED to increase its capacity.

The Dorchester ED will still be available 24/7 as usual for serious and life threatening injuries and conditions, but will not be able to accommodate less serious cases while the refurbishment work takes place.

Any patients who attend Dorset County Hospital for non-serious conditions will be booked into the Weymouth service. As with all minor injuries and ailments, members of the public are urged to call 111 ahead of their visit to be assessed and booked appropriately.

The service at the Urgent Treatment Centre at Weymouth will be open from 8am until midnight every day for the duration of the Dorchester refurbishment work, which is expected to take several months. These arrangements are due to start at the end of June.

Dorset’s MIUs include:

  • Blandford Hospital
  • Bridport Hospital
  • Portland Hospital
  • Westminster Memorial Hospital, Shaftesbury
  • The Yeatman Hospital, Sherborne
  • Swanage Hospital
  • Weymouth Hospital (Urgent Treatment Centre)
  • The Victoria Hospital, Wimborne

Jane Elson, Dorset HealthCare’s Service Director for Integrated Community Services, said: “We’re delighted not only to re-open all our MIU services, but also to provide them in a more targeted, efficient way. We had to change things over the past year, and pre-booked appointments worked extremely well.

“It will save people travelling when they don’t need to, and ensure patients who do require face-to-face appointments won’t have to sit around waiting for very long.”