Is Minor Injuries Service still here?
It seems the Minor Injuries service at Grantham Hospital, provided by Lincolnshire Community Health Services, (LCHS) is now ‘incorporated’ into the ‘GP Out of Hours’ service, as reported earlier this week in the press, social media and indeed at many meetings attended by health professionals, councillors, and members of the public, but this is incorrect and Lincolnshire continues to be misinformed and misled.
I attended the ‘service’ last night with my daughter, who had trapped her fingers in a door, which had slammed shut in the wind and she developed a swollen middle finger and blackening nail, which needed simple trephining (hole burring into nail to release the pressure, not something I wished to attempt at home). So we popped into our local ‘Minor Injury Service’ at about 8pm and before you ask, “Did you ring 111 first?” No, I didn’t. And neither should I have to for a minor injury. This service was previously on a ‘Walk-In’ basis and should continue as such. She already had an MRI appointment at Grantham at 7.30pm, so we put an ice pack on her finger and simply nipped across to the GP Out of Hours / Minor Injury Unit after the MRI appointment.
Two other people were outside waiting for 111 to call them back, as access is denied, unless you have an appointment. The public are still unclear on how to access this service and equally angry at being refused entry, when they are feeling unwell and can see a service in front of them. The 111 service is still sending people elsewhere, on the basis that Grantham does NOT have a 24 hour “emergency service”, Minor Injuries OR GP Out of Hours service. This needs rectifying with immediate effect. The 111 Service continues to tell people to go anywhere, BUT Grantham, which is frightening for those in need of help, when they are physically stood in front of the doors and being told to get back in their cars and drive their sick relatives to Melton Mowbray, Peterborough, Lincoln or Newark!! (And it conveniently reduces the attendance statistics) It is only a matter of time, before a tragedy will occur.
My daughter was permitted entry to the GP Out of Hours and the staff, all lovely and helpful and I assured them I was not frustrated with them in any way, but with the decisions being made to the detriment of the health and well-being of the public. It seems they were unaware of any change in service provision and had not been informed that the Minor Injuries Unit was now being incorporated into the Out of Hours Service! As far as they were aware, the Minor Injuries Nurse was “off sick” and she wasn’t there last week either, as a friend of mine with a minor injury was also nearly refused entry then. Apparently, the nurse is due back later this month?
So, what on earth is going on? Apparently the minor injuries ‘element’ is being incorporated into the GP Out of Hours Service, but what does this ACTUALLY mean? The cost of the Minor Injuries Service was in excess of £130,000......for what? The nurse? The ‘rent of the space’.....for the treatments / dressings...…. for what? And this is where my Freedom of Information Request comes in, dear Optum. What was the £130,000 figure quoted as being the cost of the Minor Injuries Unit, actually for? And has the Minor Injuries Nurse / service actually been removed? It seems she is back in a week or so, and if that’s the case, I cannot see how any savings are being made, as the same ‘team’ remain in place in the same building and will continue to provide the same service. Can you please confirm, via Freedom of Information, the staffing levels prior to the Minor Injuries Service being ‘joined up’ with the Out of Hours service, and the current staffing levels. There were four staff in the GP Out of Hours last night. I would be interested to know how the team differs to what we had in place previously and what the projected “efficiency savings” are going to be.
My flabber remains truly gasted that the Out of Hours team are also unaware of these plans, which have been out to press, yet they appear not to have been informed and I am not even sure that their role in GP Out of Hours would even cover them from an insurance angle if they were to take on Minor Injuries too? Perhaps this is why the public have been asked to contact 111 first, so that they are, IN FACT diverted to other hospitals, thus statistically reducing attendance and the “no need for the service” plea! Yes, that old chestnut!
So, my daughter needed an X-ray to ensure she hadn’t crushed or broken any bones, and despite the X-ray department at Grantham having 24 hour cover for “ward emergencies”...….yes, ward emergencies, not Minor Injury emergencies, we had to go over to Boston, where there were 7 ambulances queuing outside, with patients still on them, because every bay was full, along with corridors and many from Grantham, because you can hear everything people are saying through the curtains. She had an X-ray, no bone injury and she needed the trephining doing to release the pressure under the nail bed, a simple procedure, which could have been done at Grantham.
Give me strength! You wonder why people are angry and frustrated with decisions being made. And you wonder why campaigners are challenging these ludicrous decisions. We challenge them for our children and their children!
I have included the Health Scrutiny Committee into this email, as I believe the contempt in which the public and campaigners are held is extended to your good selves, when you were told that the service would continue, yet it is perfectly clear that this is not the intention and staff are equally poorly informed and are the ones having to deal face-to-face with the resulting chaos into which they are thrown. Those making these decisions should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for letting their staff, patients and communities down.
Optum, I await your response to my valid points regarding the “efficiency savings” / cuts being made to yet another vital service in our county and whether this service is actually still available to the community of Grantham and District.
Nurse, Mother, NHS Campaigner, Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire