Future of minor injury services in Beccles to be discussed this week

Talks are underway on how a major service at Beccles Hospital can be re-provided once its contract e

Talks are underway on how a major service at Beccles Hospital can be re-provided once its contract expires this year. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A decision is due to be made this week on the future of minor injury services in Beccles.

A minor injuries unit (MIU) is currently run from Beccles Hospital seven days a week, but the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will be asked to agree plans on Thursday to change the way the service is delivered.

The meeting follows a three-week engagement exercise where local people were asked to share their views on the proposed changes, and a petition by Beccles mayor Graham Catchpole which attracted 2,896 signatures in support of keeping the unit open.

The CCG's governing body will consider a proposal to re-provide the service through a locally enhanced service (LES) agreement with Beccles Medical Practice, with weekend cover provided by IC24.

The change would bring the service provided in line with the rest of the CCG area, where patients receive care for minor injuries at their own GP surgery.

The CCG said the recommendation comes following further analysis of the activity at Beccles MIU, which showed that use of the unit is generally low, while the majority of those attending – 56pc – were registered with Beccles Medical Centre. In addition, Beccles MIU does not meet the standards required for minor injuries units, as there is no specialist children's nurse or emergency care practitioners on site.

Feedback received during the engagement exercise held in the autumn has also been taken into account when developing the proposal.

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Cath Byford, director of commissioning and quality with the CCG, said: 'We recognise how important a minor injuries service is to local people, and are committed to ensuring patients can continue to access the care they need locally.

'If the proposal is approved, it will bring services across our area in line, with every patient able to access care for minor injuries at their GP surgery. At weekends and bank holidays, patients would be able to get advice and support from the 111 service, as well as onward referral for face-to-face consultations to the out-of-hours clinic at Beccles Hospital wherever appropriate.

'Our review showed that use of Beccles MIU is generally low. As such, we believe a dedicated unit is not necessary, and that we could provide better value for money for our patients by commissioning minor injury services through an LES agreement instead.'

If the proposal is approved, the changes will be introduced in mid-January.

•What do you think about the proposed changes? Email amy.smith@archant.co.uk

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