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Canterbury and Coastal: Do you know the difference between a minor injury and an emergency?

User AvatarPosted by at 31/10/2013 15:56:45

Knowing the difference between a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) and an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department could be a matter of life and death.

Following a surge in the number of local people attending MIUs with life-threatening illnesses, NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is pleading for local people to learn what conditions can, and can’t be treated at a MIU.   

MIUs are usually led by nurses and an appointment is not necessary. They can treat:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Fractures of the arms, shoulders, lower legs
  • Minor burns and scalds
  • Minor head injuries
  • Animal bites
  • Minor eye injuries
  • Injuries to the back, shoulder and chest.

They can’t treat:

  • Chest pain
  • Serious breathing difficulties
  • Serious blood loss
  • Symptoms of stroke (FAST)
  • Major injuries
  • Pregnancy problems
  • Serious allergic reactions
  • People who are ill because they have drunk too much alcohol
  • Overdoses.

People suffering from these conditions should call 999 or get someone to take them straight to A&E.

If you have an illness that is not life-threatening, you should contact your GP surgery. All 22 practices across the Canterbury, Faversham, Herne Bay, Whitstable, Sandwich and Ash areas are signed up to the ‘Professional Standards for Urgent Care’. This means that patients requiring urgent attention should always be offered the most appropriate type of appointment with a doctor or nurse, either face-to-face, over the phone or at home.

If you urgently need medical help, but your GP surgery is closed, you should phone 111. NHS 111 can give advice and direct you to the most appropriate local health service.

Dr Mark Jones, Chair of NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG, said: “It’s great that local people have an awareness of MIUs, but it’s really important that people understand they don’t have the facilities to treat life-threatening illnesses. If you are having severe difficulty breathing or you think you are having a heart attack, that’s when A&E is the place to go.

“If it’s not a life-threatening illness, then your GP should be your first port of call. If you say you need an urgent appointment, your practice will help you and they will be able to signpost you to other health services, such as a Minor Injuries Unit if needed.”

MIUs in or near the Canterbury and Coastal area are as follows:

  • Estuary View, Whitstable, CT5 3SE: 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Telephone: 01227 284 309.
  • Faversham Cottage Hospital (no x-ray), Faversham, ME13 8PR: 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Telephone: 01795 562069.
  • Emergency Care Centre, Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury: Open 24 hours, seven days a week. Telephone: 01227 766877.
  • Victoria Hospital, Deal, CT14 9UA: 8am to 6pm, seven days a week. Telephone: 01304 865400.

A&E departments can be found at:

  • The William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, TN24 0LZ.
  • Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother (QEQM), Margate, CT9 4AN. 

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