STAFF shortages have placed nurses in Stroud in “a situation that can no longer be tolerated”.

The Royal College of Nursing South West has spoken out as a lack of staff at Stroud Minor Injury and Illness Unit (MIIU) has repeatedly seen nurses from Dursley’s Vale Hospital’s MIIU drafted over to Stroud to cover shifts, leading to erratic opening hours at both units.

There have been times when patients have arrived at the MIIUs to find them closed.

The Royal College of Nursing South West told the SNJ that staff in the area were spread too thin.

Two of its council members, Vicky Brotherton and Lors Alford, wrote: “Without our members going the extra mile every day, working beyond their shifts and missing meal breaks, patients would not get the care they need and deserve.

"We now find ourselves in a situation that can no longer be tolerated.”

Stroud district councillors from both the Conservatives and Labour have spoken out about the issue.

Cllr Debbie Young (Con, Chalford), said: “The problem with any demand-led service is always going to be staffing and if one unit is busy it makes sense to send staff there, and this is not just a problem for the health service.

“However, it is important that communication about closures is widely spread to stop wasted journeys to closed units.

“People increasingly want immediate treatment and if they cannot get it from their GP they have become reliant on the MIIU services, which here are local and efficient.”

District council leader Cllr Steve Lydon (Lab, The Stanleys) has organised a meeting with MP David Drew, the chief executive of Gloucestershire Care Services Katie Norton, and his deputy leader Cllr Doina Cornell to discuss the issue.

Cllr Cornell (Lab, Dursley) sits on Gloucestershire County Council’s health and scrutiny committee as SDC representative and has been lobbying for further explanation on closures, but is still awaiting answers.

She said: “We are still waiting for the details of the planned £223million cuts to the health services proposed in Gloucestershire’s Sustainability & Transformation Plan.

“I hope they don’t come back and tell us they need to close one of our local MIIU’s due to ‘low usage’ like they did when they stopped the 24 hour service at Stroud, that would be shocking.”

Katie Norton, chief executive of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, said: “We have work to do to create resilience in this service in the face of high national demand for emergency nurse practitioners.

“We experience occasions when staff are not available at short notice.

“When this happens we do our best to move staff to maintain services, however there are times when we have no choice but to close a site for a short period of time. Staffing issues at Stroud MIIU over the last few weeks, largely due to short term sickness, have required us to move some staff from the Vale.

“This is never a decision taken lightly, and we are sorry for the concern and inconvenience this is causing for patients.”

Closed units will be listed on the NHS 111 service which can also be used for non-emergency advice, patients may also call their nearest out of hours GP.

For further care advice visit or for more area specific details visit Visits to A&E services must be reserved for emergency care online, and as always, in a case of emergency call 999.