A petition demanding the return of a minor injuries unit at Devizes Hospital has already collected more than 1,400 signatures.

It has been started by Elizabeth Allen of Horton, who has been collecting case histories of older people who have had to find their way to Chippenham Hospital while in pain from injuries or illness, having been turned away by their GP surgeries.

She said: “I heard of one 89-year-old lady who had suffered quite a serious leg injury and went to her doctor’s surgery. She was told they didn’t deal with that kind of thing and she would have to go to Chippenham.

“As she lived on her own she had to drive herself. It is just not acceptable.”

Mrs Allen started the petition after her husband suffered a serious dog bite and was told he would have to go to the minor injuries unit at Chippenham Hospital, 16 miles away, to have it dealt with. Mrs Allen said: “He was not in a fit state to drive, and public transport is not easy, so I had to take him there.”

She added: “It is an enormous waste of everyone’s time. The hospital building exists in Devizes, why not use it?”

Many people in the Devizes area agree and more than 1,400 of them have signed the petition. The petition is continuing and anyone who would like to sign it can do so at Devizes Books in Sidmouth Street.

The subject of minor injuries was brought up at the meeting of Devizes Area Board on Monday night, when members of the new Wiltshire Clinical Commiss-ioning Group were answering questions about the future of health services in the Devizes area.

Dr Helen Osborn, a West Lavington GP who sits on the CCG board, said the types of cases dealt with by the minor injuries unit in Devizes in its final days had changed drastically.

She said: “We used to stitch people up but latterly that was hardly happening at all. The types of injury we were seeing towards the end could all quite easily be seen at doctors’ surgeries.”

She said there would be a review of minor injury services in the Devizes area in due course.