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Fears voiced over Purley hospital injuries unit 'downgrade'

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PATIENTS have been urged to fight plans to 'downgrade' Purley hospital – by the NHS boss responsible for its recent multi-million pound redevelopment.

Suzanne Joyce, a project manager hired to oversee the £11 million revamp of the War Memorial Hospital, completed last year, has disputed figures used by health chiefs as a basis for labelling the Brighton Road facility a 'minor injuries unit' rather than 'urgent care centre'.

Under the changes, to take effect from next Thursday (May 1), the centre will be open from 2-8pm, rather than 8am-8pm currently.

There are also fears that patients with more serious injuries will be turned away to Croydon University Hospital, although health bosses have denied this will be any different to the way patients are currently dealt with.

Speaking at a residents' meeting in Kenley on Tuesday, Ms Joyce said the urgent care centre had been in place since 2010 but would now be downgraded to a minor injuries unit from May 1.

"I do think this will be a big change for Purley and urge you to write to your MP or the CCG [clinical commissioning group] about it," she said.

Ms Joyce disagreed with the CCG's figures that only 19 people visit the urgent care centre on average each day. "I have done the number crunching from visits in the last 18 months and it's between 35 and 55 patients every day. Sometimes it can be as many as 70," she said.

The CCG has cited the low attendance figures as the main reason for cutting opening hours at the centre and changing the type of walk-in treatment available at the hospital.

It has sought to calm the fears raised by Ms Joyce and has, for example, denied a suggestion that patients needing an X-ray without an appointment would now be sent to Croydon University Hospital – the borough's remaining urgent care centre – under the changes.

Dr Agnelo Fernandes, a local GP and assistant clinical chairman of Croydon CCG, said: "It is important that everyone is clear that the current service at Purley isn't the same as an A&E or an urgent care centre. It is a minor injuries unit, and nothing has changed in that respect. People should therefore continue to go there with minor cuts, sprains, and strains.

"People with serious injuries and emergencies – like bleeding you can't stop, serious broken bones, blackouts, severe chest pain, and stroke – will need to carry on going to the emergency department at Croydon University Hospital as they always have."

Dr Fernandes added the reduction in opening hours would be reviewed in three months' time.

Fears voiced over Purley hospital injuries unit 'downgrade'


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