The minor injuries unit at Guy's Hospital has cut its opening hours by four hours a day for the next two months so that staff can be transferred to St Thomas' Hospital's overstretched accident and emergency department.
When the minor injuries unit at Guy's Hospital replaced the previous accident and emergency department it was open for 14.5 hours a day. This was later cut back to 12 hours a day.
Now Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust has temporarily cut the unit's opening hours by a further four hours to allow the unit's nurse practitioners to assist with the early evening rush at the A&E department at St Thomas' Hospital.
The trust says that it plans to reinstate the usual 8am-8pm schedule at Guy's as soon as possible but the 4pm closure is likely to continue throughout March and April.
Hospital bosses insist that the unit at Guy's is little-used in the early evening, with an average of 11 patients visiting the unit between 4pm and 8pm each day, whilst A&E at St Thomas' is experiencing "extreme operational pressure".
"I know from recent visits to see friends and other constituents in Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals the pressure which NHS staff are under to meet the current needs of people in our local communities," says Simon Hughes MP.
"I am clear that keeping and improving the level of service from our local hospitals and other NHS services will be a key issue for many people in the forthcoming general election. There are some frightening reports of possible cuts to services in the NHS across London and elsewhere in the country.
"At my meeting later this month with Guy's and St Thomas' bosses I shall make clear again my commitment to developing and increasing services on the Guy's site and I shall resist strongly any unjustified plans to reduce services for local residents and those who work in Southwark and Lambeth."
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