Minor Injuries Units to be piloted as Urgent Care Centres

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People power has saved our Minor Injuries Unit from imminent closure, with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group today announcing plans to pilot urgent care hubs in Ely, Wisbech and Doddington this spring.

Spotted in Ely can confirm that the CCG is putting together a formal business case for the three hubs, which is due to be finalised any day now.

If approved, the CCG hopes to start the first phase of its new urgent care pilot from this spring.

The first step would involve adding “GP expertise” to the MIU Nurse Practitioner teams from Monday to Friday, and to “broaden the range of patients and conditions which can be seen and treated locally” at the hubs, including at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Ely.

“We envisage that this will develop over time, with better integration between the MIU staff and Out of Hours GP service at weekends so that more patients can choose local services instead of travelling to A&E departments when they do not need to.”

Long-term aims include integrating “currently fragmented” services into the hubs, standardising opening times and increasing and strengthening links with Accident & Emergency services, ambulatory care (where patients receive hospital treatment without needing to be admitted), and other acute specialities such as orthopaedics.

Other future aims include supporting GPs to offer “a wide variety of services for their patients”, making the “most efficient use of resources” and developing “local but cost effective solutions for the rural geography”.

The CCG said it hoped to “widen the scope of patients who can be dealt with as a one-stop service and offer and alternative for patients who might otherwise opt for A&E due to difficulties accessing general practise.”

The new model has been developed together with primary care providers, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, the community and mental health services, the CCG said, adding that public pressure had helped health bosses make their decision to turn MIUs into urgent care hubs.

Since news first emerged regarding secret plans to close the three MIUs in the East Cambridgeshire and Fenland area, Spotted in Ely has run a campaign to #saveourminorinjuriesunit.

Northeast Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay, who first leaked the closure plans to the media, has welcomed today’s announcement.

“During the summer I raised concerns that the CCG were considering plans to close the MIU services at Wisbech, Doddington and Ely.

“After holding numerous meetings and a health roundtable with the CCG, GPs and South East Cambridgeshire MP, Lucy Frazer QC all agreed to consider my proposal to transform the current MIU sites into healthcare hubs, rather than closing them.

“This has been very successful elsewhere in the country and effectively addresses the CCG’s budgetary requirements while improving healthcare provision in our area.

“This is a fantastic announcement and is the result of tireless work from myself and my office in conjunction with the CCG.”

Meanwhile campaigner Emma Watson said on Save Ely’s Minor Injuries Unit’s Facebook page: “It’s good to see that things are moving forward.”

Throughout the summer and autumn, the CCG has consulted with hundreds of residents, NHS staff and local representatives to “hear people’s views on what was important to them” and held a series of public meetings.

“Our aim was to see how we could better organise the way in which we deliver minor injury services by making the best use of the valued local staff and the resources available to us.

“We heard that local, good access and consistent services were important to you.”