NHS patients in Swindon are being advised to travel elsewhere to avoid long wait times in Great Western Hospital's urgent care centre.

That was exactly the situation that GWH patient Meg Rexworthy found herself in when she travelled 30 miles with a severe infection to a hospital in Cirencester.

The 23-year-old has been in and out of the Great Western Hospital since October 2023 due to her diagnosis of Crohn's, an inflammatory bowel disease, and in May 2024 she underwent an operation in Swindon.

Meg had been under the care of Great Western Hospital in Swindon, but felt she would be seen sooner in Cirencester.Meg had been under the care of Great Western Hospital in Swindon, but felt she would be seen sooner in Cirencester. (Image: Newsquest)

“I was given some dressings, no instructions or potential warning signs, and was told to change the dressing every other day,” Meg told the Swindon Advertiser.

“I did that and it split open and became infected.

“My GP is only open Monday to Saturday so I was advised to attend a minor injuries unit on a Sunday but I really felt like Cirencester was the only option.

“Tetbury is closed at the weekend, Chippenham’s phone line was closed and I couldn’t get through, and I definitely wasn’t going to spend hours waiting at Swindon minor injuries."

Multiple Swindon residents have told the Adver they have travelled to Cirencester to be seen for minor injuries.Cirencester's Minor Injuries Unit is open from 8am to 8pm. (Image: Newsquest)

Just days later, Meg was blue-lighted to the Great Western Hospital when her infection became severe, and she believes that her experience was more traumatic than necessary because of her struggle to get seen.

“Overall I can’t fault the hospital staff, but it’s the lack of communication and how long people have to wait to be seen that’s a big problem,” she said.

Staff at the Great Western Hospital have previously admitted struggling to see urgent patients quickly, and are now advising locals to consider all options.

“Sometimes, patients may need to wait some time to be seen in our Urgent Treatment Centre whilst our clinical staff treat those in a more severe or life-threatening condition," said a spokesperson for Great Western Hospital's NHS Trust.

“There are two Minor Injury Units in our local area, including one in Cirencester, which are well equipped to treat less serious injuries.

"Whilst they might be a slightly longer drive for local people, they often have a much shorter wait time and provide a really high standard of care."