Immediate action taken after Felixstowe minor injuries unit complaints
PUBLISHED: 11:30 26 May 2019
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has had a "very constructive" meeting with NHS bosses over public complaints about a reduction in the use of Felixstowe hospital's minor injuries centre.
Dr Coffey said health service officials had pledged to make immediate improvements - but she would still be holding a public meeting on the issue.
Problems have arisen following changes to the Minor Injuries Clinic (MIC) last month which meant it was no longer a walk-in unit for people who had suffered minor accidents or wanted immediate help or advice.
Instead, patients now have to call the NHS 111 service centre which will determine their needs by triage - sometimes directing them to the MIC or to more appropriate alternative services.
Some patients say they have been referred to Ipswich Hospital, even Colchester, despite services existing on their doorstep.
Dr Coffey said that she had been reassured by the health minister last year that patients could get same day access to the Felixstowe MIC. After receiving a series of complaints from residents, she felt "something seems to have gone very wrong" and said she was "very concerned".
On Friday she met with NHS boss for the East of England, regional director Ann Radmore, and Ed Garratt, chief officer of the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commission Group (CCG).
Dr Coffey said officers were taking the matter "very seriously" and the meeting had been "very constructive".
She said: "A huge thank you to people who contacted me with their experiences of accessing the MIC at Felixstowe Community Hospital.
"This was very helpful in making sure that this is being taken seriously."
At the meeting NHS officials said immediate action would be taken.
Dr Coffey said: "They agreed to look into the problems that people have been telling me about, find out why this is happening and fix it.
"Dr Garratt committed to following up with the 111 service straightaway to make improvements. They have also agreed to my plan for a public meeting and I will update people when we agree a date."
You may also want to watch:
The CCG and Suffolk GP Federation said that since April 1 they had been monitoring patient bookings and referrals via NHS 111 had been working successfully. From April 1 to May 19 the MIC received (and treated) a total of 114 referrals for patents with minor injuries - of these 93 were referred by the four Felixstowe GP surgeries, 19 from NHS111 and two from the ambulance service.