Patients in the Tavistock area are having to travel to Plymouth or other areas because the X-ray at the town’s hospital has broken down.

A mother whose son had a crush injury to his leg from an accident on a farm where he was working a week ago has added her voice to a call for the machine to be replaced. It is thought a temporary mobile machine is being lined up as a short term replacement.

The woman, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “I have many friends who regularly go to Tavistock Hospital for X-rays and they much prefer to go there, rather than travel.

“My son had a crush injury on his leg and he was taken to Tavistock Hospital where they said an X-ray would be a good idea to find out what the problem was. But that he’d have to go to Derriford because the Tavistock X-ray was broken down and had been for some time..

“X-rays are so important to diagnosing what’s happened to some one, so they can work out the right treatment. A hospital without an X-ray machine is like a taxi firm without a taxi.”

She added: “We are always being told that Derriford is so busy and don’t go there unless it’s an emergency or you can get treatment closer to home. Tavistock Hospital has great staff and people love it that they don’t have to go to a large hospital like Derriford and travel 30 miles round trip and pay for parking and try and find your way around when we have a hospital on our doorstep. It also all takes a long time to do all that and some people can’t take time out of work.

“There must be an X-ray being unused in a local cottage hospital or a working one in a clinic that the NHS could use before they get a replacement? Otherwise people are going to miss out on treatment that they need all because of the inconvenience of going to Derriford.”

A University Hospitals Plymouth spokesperson said: "Unfortunately, we are no longer able to offer an X-ray service at Tavistock Minor Injuries Unit as the machine has broken and we have exhausted all options for repair.

 “We understand this will be concerning for patients, but we would like to reassure them that we are exploring different options to reinstate the service, however this is not straightforward due to the age of the building.

 “We are sorry that patients are having to travel further to receive their X-rays and would advise anyone who needs an X-ray in the Tavistock area to call 111, so they can be redirected to the nearest facility.”

Sir Geoffrey Cox, Torridge and West Devon MP, said: "Following a discussion with Councillor Debo Sellis, I wrote to the NHS Trust to raise the concerns of local residents.  The Trust has told me they have plans to install a temporary mobile X-ray machine, pending the results of building and floor survey work which will help decide what sort of machine will be used to provide a long-term solution.  It's important to all of us that live in and around Tavistock that such services are maintained and I will continue to closely monitor progress in this area."