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Small change for minor injury care in Rothbury

Friday, 12 September, 2014
Small change for minor injury care in Rothbury

Healthcare leaders in Northumberland have this week confirmed new arrangements for the very small number of people accessing minor injury care in Rothbury. 

This follows a recent review led by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which currently provides the service from Rothbury Community Hospital, which found less than one patient a day using  the service with the vast majority not needing any intervention at all, or signposted to another hospital, or their GP, for treatment.

Of the 255 patients who accessed the service in the whole of last year:

–       37% were referred to another hospital for treatment

–       36% were discharged with minor dressings or no intervention at all

–       27% were referred to their GP

The number of patients accessing the service, which has historically been delivered by nurses working on the inpatient elderly care and rehabilitation ward in Rothbury Community Hospital, has been decreasing year-on-year. 

As part of regular internal assessments of all its services, Northumbria Healthcare has highlighted the recent findings to commissioners NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who give their full support to the new arrangements.

From September, patients who require minor injury advice should simply call the free NHS 111 number (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week) who will advise on the most appropriate place for any necessary assessment.  This could be at nearby Alnwick Infirmary or Wansbeck General Hospital where full diagnostics are available, or via their local GP practice.

Minor injury care includes treatment for cuts, burns, sprains, insect or animal bites, wound infections or minor head injuries.  The new arrangements will ensure that patients are guided to the most appropriate place, first time, for treatment. Other minor injury units across Northumberland see hundreds of patients every single week and thousands every year.

Ian Joy, matron for minor injuries at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said:  “As a forward-thinking organisation, we continually look at our services to make sure we are offering the very best quality of care but also how we can improve experience even further to meet and exceed our patients’ expectations. 

“Given the extremely low number of patients accessing minor injuries at Rothbury and the majority being referred onto other hospitals or to their GP to receive definitive care, or needing no intervention at all, it makes absolute sense that we do not duplicate time, effort and money providing a service when the majority of patients are cared for elsewhere.”

Dr Alistair Blair, chief clinical officer of NHS Northumberland CCG said: “Given that most of the patients currently managed within the Rothbury MIU can be managed within the local GP surgery, duplication of these services does not seem sensible.

“Not only does this change maximise NHS resource, it also means patients, especially tourists who are unfamiliar with local service provision, are more likely to get the level of care they need first time by calling NHS 111.”

Local GPs working at The Rothbury Practice care for the 1,800-strong population of the small market town and already work very closely to provide many joined up services and clinics from Rothbury Community Hospital, as well as medical support to the ward team as required.