Calls for greater use of minor injuries unit

March 01 2015

HEALTH chiefs are being urged to increase the services offered at Yate Minor Injuries Unit to help ease the pressure on hospital accident and emergency departments.

HEALTH chiefs are being urged to increase the services offered at Yate Minor Injuries Unit to help ease the pressure on hospital accident and emergency departments.
The unit (MIU) was set up to deal with injuries such as scalds, bites, cuts and grazes, as well as sprains and minor head injuries.
Staff can also treat arm, lower leg and foot injuries, including broken bones.
But some people turn up at the MIU with conditions that cannot be dealt with because they are illnesses rather than injuries, or should be treated by a GP or at a hospital.
Although it has X-ray facilities, there have also been complaints that they can only be used during weekday “office hours”, even though the unit is open seven days a week and on bank holidays.
But if the X-ray department was open at weekends and the MIU was able to treat some ailments as well as minor injuries when people could not see their GP, it is believed it would take at least some of the strain off Southmead Hospital’s A&E department.
The hospital, along with others around the country, recently experienced high A&E demand. The problem was especially bad when patients couldn’t see their GPs and instead went to casualty with conditions that were not appropriate for hospital treatment.
A high number of older patients being admitted exacerbated the problem but it is felt more could be done to resolve the issue if community facilities such as Yate MIU were beefed up.
Yate’s Ruth Davis, leader of South Gloucestershire’s Liberal Democrat councillors, said: “We are lobbying for more use to be made of the MIU. That’s the only way forward.
“The public doesn’t understand what the unit is for. They might not be feeling well or want a dressing changed but those kind of things are not dealt with at the unit. We want a broader spectrum of services to be provided.”
The MIU is provided by the NHS South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). It said data for November and December 2014 showed the unit also saw increased attendance in the weeks leading to Christmas before falling back in the last two weeks of the year.
At its peak, 355 people attended in one week but over the period there were some patients suffering nothing more than coughs and colds.
A spokesman said: “The MIU is an important part of the CCG’s overall urgent care provision in South Gloucestershire, providing urgent care services at a convenient location close to patients’ homes. We currently have no plans for changes to the service.”
The unit is open 8.30am-7.30pm on weekdays and from 10am-1.30pm at weekends and on bank holidays.