MP concerned by possible reduced access to minor injuries unit
PUBLISHED: 14:17 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:57 21 May 2019
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Concerns have been raised about a reduction in services at the Felixstowe Minor Injuries Unit after it was alleged that the NHS 111 service had stopped referring patients to the service.
An announcement was made last December that the MIU would see a reduction in services with walk-in patients no longer being accepted from April 1.
Now, however, Suffolk Coastal MP, Therese Coffey said she had received correspondence that suggested that NHS 111 was refusing to make referals to the unit, citing a lack of access to a patient's NHS record.
Dr Coffey said:"Something seems to have gone very wrong here.
"When I met the Health Minister last year I was reassured that by calling NHS 111, patients could get same day access to the Felixstowe Minor Injuries Unit. I am very concerned that this is now not the case for patients.
"I am seeking an urgent meeting with the Head of the NHS for the East of England. I will work with the Mayor and our county councillors on this important issue.
"I also plan to organise a public meeting so patients can get some direct answers from the NHS top brass."
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In a joint statement, NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and the Suffolk GP Federation, said: "Patients with minor injuries in Felixstowe are now required to make an appointment in order to receive treatment at the Minor Injures Clinic (MIC). This is no longer a walk-in centre due to changes that were necessary to comply with new regulations from NHS England.
"A high percentage of patients who attend traditional 'walk-in' centres are referred on to other services for treatment because they need to see a different healthcare professional. By asking patients to first call NHS111 and triaging their medical needs we can ensure they are sent straight away to the right place for treatment.
"Anyone in Felixstowe who suffers a minor injury should call NHS111 where operators will direct them to the most appropriate health care professional. In some cases they will be given an on-the-day appointment at the MIC in Felixstowe, but where this is not appropriate to their needs they will be directed to a more suitable healthcare service or offered self-care advice.
"Staff at any of the town's four GP practices - Walton, The Grove, Howard House or Haven Health - can also book on-the-day appointments at the MIC for registered patients who phone or call in at their surgeries, if the MIC is appropriate for their needs.
"Since the 1st April 2019 we have been monitoring patient bookings and know that referrals via NHS111 have been working successfully.
"During the period from the 1st April to 19th May the MIC has 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. These appointments were in addition to other services provided by staff operating from the MIC.
"We would welcome an opportunity to meet with Dr Therese Coffey MP to discuss any concerns her constituents may have.
"If patients would like to share feedback with us about their experiences at the MIC then they can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01473 344933."