X-ray services have been saved after health bosses decided not to replace the broken down machine at Devizes Hospital but switch provision to the town’s NHS treatment centre.
The more than 50-year-old equipment broke down on March 10. People have had to travel to other hospitals including Melksham and the Royal United in Bath to be X-rayed.
Devizes NHS Treatment Centre, in Marshall Road, is operated by private firm Care UK and opened in November 2009. It is used by patients from across the county for routine operations.
It was approved by the last Government to take pressure off acute hospitals.
Dr Helen Osborn, chairman of the group of GPs representing Devizes on Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and a partner at the Courtyard Surgery, West Lavington, said: “The treatment centre in Devizes has got modern facilities.
“At the moment it is accessed by a couple of GP practices for X-ray on a pilot basis but from early June all GP practices in the Devizes area will be able to refer patients there for X-ray.
"Why would we replace defunct X-ray equipment in Devizes when we already have modern X-ray equipment at the treatment centre and it is making good use of taxpayers’ money?”
Asked if the loss of X-ray from Devizes Hospital would result in other services at the hospital being lost, including outpatients, physiotherapy and dentistry, Dr Osborn said they were not in jeopardy.
Devizes NHS Treatment Centre manager Kevin Walsh said: “We have increased our resources at the centre including the recruitment of an additional radiographer to ensure we are able to manage the extra demand on our service.
“The X-ray service is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
“We have certain restrictions imposed by our licence, for example we cannot take under-18s or people with open wounds, but otherwise we look forward to offering our services to the local population.”
Health campaigner Judy Rose, co-ordinator of Devizes Community Area Partnership’s health and wellbeing group, said: “The treatment centre has tremendous diagnostic equipment, it has the ability to do ultrasound, and it’s a huge advantage to have it in Devizes.
“The treatment centre is accessible.
“People may have to travel a bit further to go to Marshall Road but it’s either that or go without X-ray in Devizes altogether. ”