Ten MIUs to close?!
An online "news" website has published a story claiming that TEN Minor Injury Units are DEFINITELY closing in the next few months.
Needless to say, this has got a lot of people upset, especially in East Cornwall as the website claims that Liskeard will be the only MIU between Truro and the Tamar!
Thankfully, the story is not true. It's just a mischievous twisting of an honest attempt to improve health services in Cornwall.
The truth is:
- Currently, MIUs only offer a limited service because they don't have the right staff or equipment to offer certain treatments. For example, fractures cannot be treated during evenings and weekends because the radiologists in most MIUs are only employed Mon-Fri 9-5. Chest pains cannot be checked out because most MIUs don't have ECG machines.
- As a result, lots of people have to make the journey to the Emergency Department at Treliske or Derriford. This is causing huge pressure on the acute hospitals, with most patients having to wait hours to be treated, and lines of ambulances queuing up outside trying to admit patients.
- The proposed solution is to upgrade our MIUs, providing them with more diagnostic equipment and specialist staff. Nurse-led MIUs have strict rules about who they can treat, but with a doctor supervising, the team has much more flexibility.
- Unfortunately, due to the lack of funding from central government, we don't have any extra money to spend on these upgrades, so if we spend more on each unit, the number of units will have to be reduced.
- Four hospitals already have most of the extra resources which allow them to treat a wider range of conditions: Truro Minor Injuries Ward (next door to the Emergency Department), West Cornwall Urgent Treatment Centre, Camborne Walk-in Centre and Liskeard Hospital.
This does NOT mean that all other MIUs will close. We want to upgrade as many MIUs as possible, including in East Cornwall, but the Conservative MPs who were elected last June have refused to provide extra funding, so if we increase the resources at each site, we won't have enough money to keep them ALL open.
There will be meetings in February to consider the options for amount spent per site vs number of sites to keep open. These options will then go to a full public consultation in late spring / early summer. You will be able to say which combination of sites and resources you think is best. You can argue that keeping all the same sites open, but then there will be no money for upgrades. Heck, you can even vote to have urgent care on every street corner if you like, as long as you realise that splitting the budget like this means there will just be a first aid kit and a "how to perform CPR" manual! Or you can make the case for one hospital getting an upgraded UTC and somewhere else being closed.
But what you can't vote for is more money. We had that chance on June 8th and elected six Conservatives who put their party ahead of Cornwall.
Please don't be mad at the local councillors and staff who are trying to do the best with what they've got and have no power to increase the budget.
For the latest FACTS about the changes being planned for the NHS and Social Care in Cornwall, please visit www.shapingourfuture.info