MORE urgent and emergency treatment could be given in the county’s community hospitals in future under plans to strengthen minor injuries units.
A formal link has been created between Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the major A&E departments and the MIU in Kidderminster, and Worcestershire Health and Care Trust which runs MIUs in Bromsgrove, Malvern, Tenbury and Evesham. The move is part of efforts to create a network of A&Es across the county.
MIUs can treat a range of injuries and conditions ranging from bee stings to broken bones but the opening times, range and type of services offered varies from location to location. They are also significantly under-used with the Princess of Wales Community Hospital in Bromsgrove seeing just about 25 people a day.
The aim in the short-term will be to standardise the service across Worcestershire and allow MIU staff to benefit from being able to access advice from specialists within the Acute Trust and increased training. But in future it is hoped the units could deal with a greater range of patients needing emergency ambulatory care – those who require urgent attention but can be assessed, diagnosed and treated but are able to go home on the same day.
Stewart Messer, chief operating officer for WAHT, said: “One of the key aims is to build public confidence in these MIUs.
“At the moment they are not utilised to their full extent.
“It’s about making sure there’s a consistent service so every MIU you visit across the county has the same service, at the moment it is a bit ad hoc, you can get an x-ray here and an x-ray there.”
Part of the strategy to encourage people to use MIUs will be the introduction of live average waiting times within the county’s A&E departments to help patients choose where to be treated. While waiting times in A&E can be four hours or more the average waiting time in POWCH is between 11 to 25 minutes.
But Lyn Todd, WAHT non-executive director, said if the idea was going to work it had to be promoted.
“Until I became a non-exec I had no idea you could go to POWCH for such services.
“There’s no awareness in the community.”