AN ONLINE petition has been started to re-open a Minor Injury Unit at Newtown Hospital.

This follows a 40-minute mercy dash, by health campaigner Joy Jones, who took a poorly friend from Newtown to Welshpool’s Victoria Memorial Hospital for treatment on Monday night.

Powys County Councillor Joy Jones says she is fed up that residents of Powys’ biggest town are being ignored and that people could die waiting for ambulances to take them to the nearest A&E unit.

She feels that the latest episode has highlighted the need for action.

Joy said: “Patients of Newtown and surrounding areas are fed-up with being treated as second class citizens.

“Newtown needs a new all under one roof medical centre open 24/7.

“When the doctors’ surgery is closed, there is no cover in Newtown.

“There is an out of hours service called Shropdoc that is based in Welshpool Hospital but don't come to Newtown until midnight.

“Welshpool also has a MIU, its 16 miles from Newtown but at night no public transport, slow, single lane roads that make the journey slow.

“People feel ignored, second class and worthless.

“Powys teaching Health Board has made promises so many times, but there’s been no follow through.”

Alan Lawrie, deputy chief executive of Powys Teaching Health Board, said: “A major challenge for the NHS here in rural Mid Wales is how to recruit and retain specialist and skilled staff, particularly for primary care and 24-hour out of hours services.

“We are reviewing the model of services including Minor Injury Services in Montgomeryshire.

“In neighbouring Shropshire, we expect the NHS Future Fit consultation to start shortly on proposals affecting the future shape of acute hospital services in the county.”

Mr Lawrie said the board had plans to respond to the decision made following the consultation and would be working with communities and stakeholders to develop these options.

n To give your support to Cllr Jones’ online petition calling for the re-opening of the unit visit -injury-unit-now