A group that supports a north-east hospital is hoping the results of a poll will help strengthen their case for it to remain open 24/7.
Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) is reviewing minor injury units across the region.
The preferred option of the steering group is to reduce the hours Chalmers Hospital in Banff is open, potentially shutting overnight.
Friends of Chalmers Hospital has been campaigning to keep the facility open overnight, and have been running an online poll to gauge public opinion.
It asks people to vote yes if they think the unit should be open throughout the day and night, seven day a week.
So far the poll has more than 1,500 votes with only 24 voting no.
Charity treasurer Peter Johnston felt the poll would bring the issue to people’s attention and let them voice their concerns.
He said: “Basically there was wide-spread disappointment when the preferred option was to reduce the opening hours possibly to just day time so 8am to 6pm or longer hours of 8am to midnight.
“We’re really very concerned because whatever you choose call the unit, it’s historically dealt with emergency cases, some of which go beyond what ordinary people would class as minor like fractured legs or a bleed that won’t stop.
“There’s clearly a very serious risk to people if it closes overnight.”
The most common concerns mentioned in the poll fixate on the issue of ambulances being taken from the Banff area during the night, leaving people without care and confusion over other MIU.
Mr Johnston said: “What’s puzzling and fascinating is that they also examined Huntly’s hospital and we’re delighted they’re staying 24-hours but all the reasons that they gave apply to Chalmers too.
“As well as that, Chalmers has had a substantial £15million investment recently upgrading things so there’s the suggestion that if Huntly can remain then so can Chalmers.
“It must also be very demoralising for the staff seeing as they’re professionally trained the same as in any other hospital – it won’t be improving morale and urging other medical professionals to come here if they’re closing things off.”
Partnership bosses insist they are taking on board the concerns and are committed to working with the community to create a sustainable future for urgent, out of hours care.
Adam Coldwells, chief officer for the AHSCP, said: “We absolutely acknowledge the concerns that have been raised by the community, however there is a real difference between what the MIU can and currently does offer and the wider concerns that have been raised around out of hours urgent care provision in the area.”
A full report including the steering group’s recommendations will be put to a future meeting of the IJB.