The Minister for Health and Social Care has said changes to the Manx Emergency Doctors Service’s (MEDS) opening hours has not impacted the availability of emergency services in the island.

Since Monday, January 8, the MEDS has been closed from 12am to 8am from Monday to Friday, with the service remaining open 24 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays. This is for an initial period of 12 weeks until March 31.

Talking about this change of opening hours at Tuesday’s Tynwald sitting, Lawrie Hooper MHK said: ‘Whenever MEDS has been closed during those times, there hasn’t been an appreciable impact on the ambulance service or on our emergency department (ED).

‘Over the next three months, the department will be monitoring the impact on ED and A&E. We aren’t overly concerned at this stage based on the data we’ve seen.

‘We are asking Manx Care to monitor that data closely just in case things don’t go as expected.’

Manx Care stated that the change to opening hours was due to ‘recent staffing issues’ and the ‘significant reduction in demand during these hours’.

MHK for Douglas South, Claire Christian, enquired whether there had been any correspondence between Manx Care and the Department for Health and Social Care regarding this change to the MEDS hours and whether there had been any cost benefit analysis or impact assessment considerations.

Mr Hooper replied: ‘In the 12 months between April 2022 and April 2023, we’ve not been able to locate any correspondence in that timeframe.

‘Manx Care did outline to department officers that they were exploring the provision of the MEDS service to seek opportunities for service redesign, changing the workforce and employment model and any possible associated savings and efficiencies.

‘This 12-week period was first presented to the department in December 2023.

‘The change to MEDS is intended to stabilise it during the times when it is needed to operate.’