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Purley hospital 'confusion' angers dog bite victim

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A PATIENT who went to Purley's hospital to treat a dog bite was met with confusion on the downgraded minor injuries' unit's first day, including a doctor asking: "Er, can we give out antibiotics now?"

The unit ceased to be an urgent care centre on May 1, when it was handed over to AT Medics with halved opening hours.

Frances Perry, 58, of Mitchley Avenue, said she was bitten by a stranger's dog on the evening of April 30 and decided to visit the unit the next day.

"I pulled out a copy of the Advertiser when I got home and, as sod's law would have it, I saw the opening hours were being halved from the very next day," she said.

"Because the hours weren't 8am to 8pm anymore, I couldn't go before work, so instead I watched as my hand got as swollen as the Hunchback of Notre Dame."

By the afternoon, Mrs Perry decided to leave work early and get down to the hospital before the bite became infected.

"It was the first day of the new contract and it was inevitably chaotic," she said. "All the staff seemed to be the same but there was a real sense of 'well, what we used to do'."

"I went up to reception and was told to sit down, only to hear people saying; 'Do we do dog bites any more?'.

"Luckily I was called in and the doctor said he wanted to give me antibiotics, but wasn't sure if the unit could.

"A nurse then went to go and find out and came back saying 'you're in luck, there was some in the cupboard'."

Halfway through Mrs Perry's appointment, her doctor's computer stopped working, prompting more people to interrupt and sort out the problems.

"Despite it being quite funny at times, I do think the service has changed," Mrs Perry said.

"When it was an urgent care centre it definitely did infections and things like that.

"It's a shocking waste of NHS money if something like that gets worse and you end up having to go to Croydon University Hospital, and take up a bed for two days attached to a drip."

Mrs Perry said it was also a shame to see services downgraded after so much money had been spent redeveloping the hospital.

Her husband currently has to take two buses to get to Croydon for his diabetes clinics, but was told he would have to wait a month to get the same appointment down in Purley.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for the change, has denied the minor injuries unit is a downgrade, and has cited low attendance figures as its justification for halving opening hours.

However, Suzanne Joyce, the project manager hired by the NHS to oversee the £11million refurbishment, has disputed these figures and urged residents to write to the CCG and their MP about the changes.

Purley hospital 'confusion' angers dog bite victim


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