Opposition mounts to Minor Injuries Unit shake up
A CAMPAIGN group set up to preserve services at South Tyrone Hospital has voiced its opposition to the proposal to reduce opening hours at the Minor Injuries Unit.
The unit, which provides an exceptionally high quality service, is the fastest growing MIU in Northern Ireland and numbers continue to climb steadily.
Several meetings have taken place recently in Dungannon between the South Tyrone Hospital Community Forum and locally elected representatives, including Councillors, MLAs and MPs from all political parties.
A deputation then met with the Chief Executive of the Southern Trust, Barry Conway and Angela McVeigh.
“At that meeting there was total opposition voiced regarding the proposal to reduce the opening hours at South Tyrone Hospital Minor Injuries Unit by two hours each evening”, said a spokesperson for the forum.
“Patients with minor injuries can be seen at STH quickly and efficiently which helps take the pressure off larger A&E units.
“We appreciate the improvements that the Trust has made at CAH A&E department and wish to see those improvements maintained. Closing STH MIU 7-9 per night would result in an extra 1,150 (2010/11 figures) patients transferring to CAH A&E per year. “Added to the numbers presently seen at Armagh after 7pm this figure would rise to approximately 2,000.
“Keeping STH MIU open 7-9 pm could help Craigavon Hospital achieve the Emergency Access target of 95% of patients being seen within 4 hours.
“STH MIU serves a widespread hinterland which has poorer public transport services than any other part of the Trust area.
“County Tyrone is the only county without an acute hospital. The further west and more geographically spread out the region, without the back-up from an acute hospital, the more the necessity for longer opening hours in an efficient MIU like STH.
“There should not be uniformity throughout Northern Ireland when deciding opening hours of MIUs – distance, accessibility and rurality should be taken into account. Services should be available where they are most needed as outlined in The Compton Report.
“The recent closure of Magherafelt A&E has led to more patients attending STH MIU from the Mid-Ulster area and, at the meeting with the Trust, the Mid-Ulster MLA, Patsy McGlone, stated the importance of the STH unit to his constituents.
“The same criteria should not be applied to the opening hours of two very different units i.e. Dungannon and Armagh where the numbers of attendances and onward referral vary so greatly.
“Serious concern was also expressed that the two options contained in the consultation document imply that the decision had already been taken by the Trust to close the STH MIU at 7pm each night before the formal consultation had taken place.
T”he forum is aware of, and congratulates the Trust on, the improvements in CAH A&E over the last year or so which has contributed to the Southern Trust now being commonly regarded as the best performing Trust in Northern Ireland.”
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Weather for Dungannon
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
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