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Use of Purley Minor Injuries Unit has dropped since controversial changes to service

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A REVIEW has found that the number of people using the urgent care services at Purley War Memorial Hospital has dropped in the three months since the controversial downgrading of the unit.

Residents were upset when the Minor Ailment/Minor Injury service at Purley War Memorial Hospital (PWMH) was changed to a Minor Injuries Unity (MIU) in May this year, halving opening hours and removing access to the hospitals x-ray machine.

The review, by Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), found that from May to July 2014 the number of people going to the MIU dropped by 12 per cent. There was also a 14 per cent drop in in the people actually treated at the unit, and a nine per cent drop in the number of people successfully sent on to be treated by more elsewhere.

It also found that in July only eight per cent of patients to visit the centre would have benefitted from being able to use the hospital's x-ray machine.

The Minor Ailments service was removed from the unit in May, when it also changed from nurse led to GP led and opening hours were cut from 8am to 8pm, to 2pm to 8pm.

But almost all of the patients to visit the unit in the three months since the changes said their experience of the service had been excellent.

Every month one in ten patients answer a questionnaire about their experience using the MIU. In May 122 evaluated their experiences, with three quarters of people rating the service they received as excellent. Just over 15 per cent said it was very good, and just under eight per cent said it was good. Noone said their experience had been poor or very poor.

The questionnaire also found just over 50 per cent of people who used the MIU said they would have gone to A&E had it not been there, raising questions of whether an extra burden is placed on A&E in the morning and at times when the MIU I closed. But data from A&E do not show a spike in use since the change in May.

There has been much confusion surrounding the MIU since it was previously incorrectly labelled an Urgent Care Centre. The review recommends that consistency in the way the service is referred to on websites will continue to be addressed, and better signs at PWMH have been agreed and will be put in place soon.

But the review concluded that because the new service has only been in place since May this year more evidence will be needed to make firm recommendations on changing the service again.

Dr Tony Brzezicki, Croydon CP and Clinical Chair of Croydon CCG, said that the review was ordered to address resident's concerns about the changes to the unit and that they will be meeting local residents associations to look at the data and make sure the MIU is meeting local needs.

But he said that it is still too early to spot meaningful trends in the data.

"Attendance at Purley minor injuries does seem to be down slightly, but use of Parkway in New Addington has increased," he said.

"This could be because people are getting the treatment they need from more appropriate places, like local pharmacies. If that is the case then that would be positive. We'll keep reviewing the data, and talking to local residents, so that we can get the full picture and take any action needed."

Residents' Associations from areas close to the hospital met today to discuss the review but concluded they cannot comment on the data until more information about the use of other urgent care services for people in Croydon is available.

The associations that met were: Hartley and District, Kenley and District, East Coulsdon, West Coulsdon and Riddlesdown.

There will be another review at six months.

Use of Purley Minor Injuries Unit has dropped since controversial changes to service


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