Plans to overhaul urgent care services in Neath Port Talbot and Singleton hospitals have been approved by the health board.
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg approved plans to cut the opening times of minor injury units in both hospitals.
Currently the Singleton unit is open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, but under the new plans it will now close at 1pm on weekends.
The opening hours of ambulatory emergency care (AEC) and the acute GP unit (AGU) will extend to 8pm on weekdays.
The AGU will also open for the first time on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays between 8am and 1pm, and hours for both units over the weekend will be reduced from 8am to 1pm.
Currently at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, the minor injury unit is open 24/7 but opening times will now be cut to run between 7.30am and midnight seven days a week.
Overnight patients will instead by directed to Morriston or the Princess of Wales emergency departments.
At a meeting of the health board held in Baglan Community Church, it was argued that the proposals had been put forward due to a lack of demand for overnight treatments.
‘The hospitals have an obligation to provide the services which are most needed’
Currently Singleton’s minor injuries unit sees around 30 patients a day, mainly during daytime hours, while the unit at Neath Port Talbot has around 120 patients during the day, but just three on average after midnight.
The plans were approved unopposed by the board at the meeting, at which there were no residents present.
The board also discussed the important of ensuring that patients are aware of where they need to go and who to call in an emergency when the hospitals are closed.
Clare Jenkins of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Community Health Council said the group also approved the plans, subject to a few changes.
“We had looked at the response from the public,” she said. “Most were positive but there were some members of the public who raised concerns including transport and communication.
“We asked for really good communication with the public in regards to where they should go in the event of an emergency and relevant numbers.
“We also asked to be shown how these people who are in hospital will be cared for in the short term.”
She added that the changes will benefit the services and strengthen the work done at the hospitals during peak times.
“We realise that the changes will strengthen the services in the day, which is when they are most used,” she said. “The hospitals have an obligation to provide the services which are most needed.”