A 6345 strong petition, calling for Ely’s minor injuries unit to be saved from closure, was last night handed to the NHS funding boss in our area.
Campaigner Helen Wright gave the petition to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) clinical chair Dr Gary Howsam during a public meeting at The Maltings.
Presenting the petition on behalf of its founder, Emma Watson, Ms Wright paid tribute to the “dedicated and, on some days, hardy group of volunteers” who manned a number of stalls on Ely’s marketplace to collect signatures.
“There was no need to persuade people to sign in support of the MIU continuing.
“Many parents, school staff, retail traders, and those who staff our GP practices and the Princess of Wales Hospital were among those who shook their heads as they signed and commented upon what they perceived to be the short-sightedness of such a proposition… a few used words which I am not going to repeat!
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“Ely city residents, surrounding village populations and visitors alike are so very aware of the need for a facility which provides appropriate care in the locality. Those who manned the petition stall could recount large numbers of personal stories of attending the MIU.
“Members of our CCG, you have heard the enormous support for and reasoning against closure of the Ely MIU.”
Ms Wright told the CCG that she and other campaigners were “somewhat encouraged to hear of movements away from the closing of this vital, professional service which saves Addenbrookes A&E staff further overload and the stress of not being able to respond well to current demands on their facility.”
In the past, “when writing was in fashion”, an MP was asked to consider that each letter received represented the thoughts of many more constituents, “often up to 200 more”, she said.
“With this in mind I present this petition as representative of, may I suggest, the vast majority of Ely’s current 19,000 population, even with the future 6,000 residents predicted to be added as the city’s five year plan unfolds.”
Yesterday’s meeting was well attended, with Southeast Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer among the dignitaries present.
During the meeting, the CCG presented six options regarding the future of threatened minor injuries units at Ely, Doddington and Wisbech:
1. Continue with existing services as before.
2. Close all MIUs and hand over their roles to primary care and local Accident and Emergency departments.
3. Reconfigure services in the Fens and East Cambridgeshire to create “an integrated local urgent care service”.
4. Close all but one of the MIUs in the Fens and East Cambridgeshires but develop this into an Urgent Care Centre, with additional responsibilities.
5. Close one of the MIUs and develop the remaining two into Urgent Care Centres.
6. Develop all MIUs into Urgent Care Centres.
The meeting was the second public forum held by the CCG in Ely, inviting people to have their say regarding the future of the three minor injuries units.
During the first meeting in August, Ely Mayor Ian Lindsay had argued that local health services should be expanded, rather than axed, to keep up with Ely’s population boom.
The meeting was called after a whistleblower leaked a secret document to Northeast Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay, recommending the closure of Minor Injury Units (MIUs) at Ely, Doddington and Wisbech.
The minor injuries unit at Ely’s Princess of Wales Hospital treats an average of 13,638 cases per year.
Although the local petition has been handed in, residents are urged to sign a second petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/163267