A REVIEW has found the number of people using Purley War Memorial Hospital's urgent care services has dropped by a third in the six months since it was downgraded.
The review by Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) found 778 people visited the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) in May, when the decision was taken, compared to 525 visitors in October, a 32.5 per cent drop.
Residents were upset when the Minor Ailment/Minor Injury service at Purley was changed to an MIU in May last year, halving opening hours and removing access to the hospital's X-ray machine.
Croydon CCG wants to establish whether current opening hours, 2pm to 8pm, should be returned to the original hours of 8am to 8pm. It also wants to see if there is enough demand for X-ray and plastering at the MIU.
But the new data, which covers May to October, missing out the busy winter months, is not conclusive enough to decide if the services should be changed, the report said.
It found 72 per cent saying the care they received at the MIU was "excellent", while every patient was treated or sent elsewhere within the two hour target.
An average of two people a day needed an X-ray at the MIU and on average a third of those who turned up were sent to other health services like A&E. And, while more people visited A&E and the Urgent Care Centre at Croydon University Hospital during the six-month period, the review does not state whether this was linked to the change in services at Purley.
Just over half of patients said they would have gone to A&E if the MIU was not there.
The MIU has attracted a lot of confusion since a sign outside the hospital said it was an Urgent Care Centre. At the end of October the CCG put up a new, temporary, sign. It hopes a permanent replacement will be erected soon.
The review concluded: "It is recognised that as the new service models have only been in operation since May 2014 further evidence will be required before any firm recommendations can be reached on any service change."