Longer opening hours at Fenland’s minor injury units will save the cash strapped NHS money and patients from travelling miles for treatment says local MP Steve Barclay.
Last week Mr Barclay launched the Treat Me Local campaign and appealed for Fenland’s help to bring health care closer to home.
The campaign aims to deliver a healthcare wishlist within the next 12 months, which has been backed by GPs across the Fens.
High on that wish list is increasing the opening hours of the opening hours of the Minor Injury Units (MIUs) at Doddington and North Cambs hospitals.
Mr Barclay said: “I believe everyone should have easy access to emergency treatment when they suffer a minor injury such as a broken arm, or are taken ill with something like cystitis. At the moment Fenland people have to travel miles to attend a hospital A&E department for treatment they could easily receive at Doddington or Wisbech.”
Currently both the Doddington and Wisbech units are open from 8.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday, with the Doddington centre also open Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays from 9am to 5pm.
However, as most parents will agree injuries often occur in early evening, which is also the time children back home from school often start to feel ill and need medical attention.
Mr Barclay said: “The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for deciding what services are needed and where, has still not undertaken a study of the number of North East Cambs residents using hospital A&Es in the early evenings and weekends, to provide the business case to support longer opening hours in our MIUs.
“Opening hours of MIUs are less important in Cambridge, Peterborough or Huntingdon because residents are only a short distance from a hospital. This perhaps explains why extending MIU opening times has been a lower priority for the CCG. Yet in North East Cambs the journey to hospital A&E units is more significant.”
He also pointed out that a recent pilot scheme, which saw the North Cambs Hospital MIU open at weekends was a huge success treating 153 patients in the first four weeks, with 95 per cent of them not needing to be referred to A&E.
Treatment closer to home saves patients time, money and stress, and it also saves the NHS money too as the average cost of a patient being seen at A&E is around £120, at an MIU it is approximately £50.
“Increasing the opening hours of the MIUs will therefore improve patient convenience, reduce the cost to the NHS, and free up hospitals to focus on the genuine emergency cases.
“We now need the business case from the CCG to show there is sufficient demand for the extra opening hours at our MIUs,” he concluded.
To support the campaign visit: www.treatmelocal.net and sign up now.