THE head of the junior team at Malton & Norton Rugby Club is urging the NHS to rethink its reduction in opening hours of the town’s minor injuries unit (MIU).

Gill Pycock, junior team co-ordinator, said she was concerned injured sports players in the area would now face long journeys to York or Scarborough, after North Yorkshire and York PCT temporarily closed the unit on weekends earlier this month.

She said: “The weekends are the time you need the MIU open. I had to use it last weekend with my son. It’s a wicked shame that it’s closed.

“When you think what the A64 can be like for traffic, particularly in the summer, it’s going to be awful. They still have all the facilities, and the doctors are wanting to use it.”

Her comments come on the day a march is planned through Malton against the reduction of opening hours at the unit.

Earlier this week, Ryedale District Council councillor Lindsay Burr called on people to join today’s protest.

She said: “This is not just about Malton and Norton but those living across the whole of Ryedale – Pickering, Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside and Thornton-le-Dale – who will all be directly affected if this temporary reduction in hours becomes permanent or, even worse, more cuts are made at our much-loved hospital.”

Simon Cox, chief operating officer for NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I’d like to reassure people that we will do all we can to ensure they continue to have access to the most appropriate services for their needs, but this may involve looking at innovative solutions to providing services that may be different to what people are used to.”

He thanked the campaign leaders for their petition, which was presented to the governing body earlier this week. He said: “While the reduced hours at the MIU are in place we plan to review the impact, both in terms of costs saving, quality and impact on patients, to inform the best use of the MIU in the future.”

The march starts at 10am outside Malton Hospital and will make its way along Newbiggin, Wheelgate, Yorkersgate, Saville Street and into Market Place.