SERVICES to treat minor injuries in Oxfordshire will run with reduced hours and some close as clinical staff are redeployed to help the NHS fight the growing coronavirus outbreak.

A notice by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust said key workers were being moved to 'where they are most needed' and this would mean a change in operating for Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) and First Aid Units (FAUs) from yesterday.

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The trust explained: "As fewer patients have been visiting MIUs and FAUs in recent weeks, and we need to free up health staff to deal with an increase in demand from the ‘out-of-hours’ service. 

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"Like other health organisations across the country, the NHS in Oxfordshire is responding to increasing demands caused by the coronavirus outbreak and planning for this to grow.

"At the same time our staff are also affected. 

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From Monday, March 23, the following measures have been introduced: 

- Minor Injury Units at community hospitals in Abingdon, Witney and Townlands in Henley: These are operating reduced hours but remain open seven days a week, 10am to 6.30pm. 

- Bicester Community Hospital: The First Aid Unit and Out of Hours service will be closed during the week.

It will be open from 8.30am to 11pm at weekends.

Posters will be displayed on doors, for anyone turning up, signposting them to services at Witney and Abingdon hospitals. 

- Chipping Norton Health Centre: The First Aid unit is temporarily closed

- Wallingford Community Hospital: This unit is temporarily closed during the Covid-19 outbreak. 

The trust added that if you need medical help contact NHS 111 first, via phone or website. 

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They will triage your case and direct you to the most appropriate unit. 

People with injuries who have not called in advance will be seen and treated as necessary.

However, if the condition or injury is not urgent, staff will ask patients attend the following day with an appointment. 

Oxford Health added: "Please also note that in order to comply with social distancing policies, people are asked to attend units on their own if possible, or with one other person only if they require help or support." 

The trust, which runs the county's community hospitals where the FAU and MIUs are based as well as mental health services in Oxfordshire, has also said no visitors will be allowed from now on at its hospitals or inpatient sites.

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A note on the trust's website states: "We are not allowing visitors to any of our hospital or inpatient sites in order to protect our patients and staff who care for them from the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus)."

It added the measures, which came into force yesterday, would remain 'until further notice'.