Riverside Clinic is good for the town

I AM really sorry to hear that the Minor Injuries Unit at the Riverside Clinic in Ipswich is likely to close later this year.

Since it opened in April 2006 it has been a great facility for people who need first aid – but don’t need the full services of Ipswich Hospital.

Fortunately I haven’t had any great personal experience of the centre, but the two occasions where my family has needed immediate medical attention have shown its worth.

On one occasion someone needed attention after spilling boiling water on a foot.

This was before the unit opened and we had to go to Ipswich Hospital accident and emergency mid-morning on a Sunday.

We sat around waiting for hours first to be seen and then for the wound to be treated. It was well after lunchtime before we left the hospital.

The other occasion was when a member of the family suffered a minor foot injury on a Friday evening.

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We got to the Minor Injuries Unit where there were several people waiting, but we were seen and the foot was treated within an hour and the whole thing seemed far less traumatic.

I could not fault the care in either place – but the atmosphere and the speed with which we were seen in the Riverside Clinic was far better.

We didn’t feel we were out of place as people with more serious conditions took precedence – and presumably the fact that we were at the Minor Injuries Unit meant the pressure was eased at A&E a mile or so away.

I realise that the real motivation for the closure of the Minor Injuries Unit is the cost that will be saved and not having access to all the figures I cannot really dispute that.

But for the patients who have used the unit since it opened five years ago, its closure will be a real loss.

When the government came to power it said there would be no cuts to the NHS. I’m not sure it will feel like that for those waiting in A&E to have a dressing put on a cut finger or a scald treated.