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Canterbury and Coastal: Public meeting and Twitter chat on the minor injuries service in Faversham

User AvatarPosted by Bobbie Walkem-Smith at 19/11/2013 10:29:58

Members of NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will be at the Alexander Centre, 7pm on Friday 6 December to discuss minor injuries services in Faversham.

The meeting, which has been arranged by The Friends of the Faversham Cottage Hospital and Community Health Centre, will be open to the public. Seating will be on a first come, first served basis.

Dr Simon Lundy, Faversham Town Team lead for NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG, said: “I can’t emphasise our disappointment enough. We don’t want to be in a position where we have to close the minor injuries service, but that’s where we are. The CCG carried out a rigorous procurement process, including Faversham patient representatives inputting to the specification and being part of the assessment panel. Unfortunately, although there was a lot of initial interest, the bids just failed to materialise. It seems that providers cannot provide the service within the money that is available.

“Previously NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) paid the provider a set amount, regardless of the number of patients who were seen - known as a ‘block contract’. Minor injuries services under the national Payment by Results guidance are on a ‘per patient basis’, so providers only receive payment for the patients they treat.

“I hope people will take the time to come along to the meeting or take part in the tweet chat. We genuinely want to hear from people and discuss their concerns regarding the closure so we can look at what we can do to lessen the potential impacts before the service closes in March 2014.”

For those that are unable to make the meeting, the CCG will also be running a live Twitter chat at 7pm on Friday 22 November. The session will run for thirty minutes and people will be able to tweet their questions direct to the CCG. To take part in the session or to follow the conversation, follow #CCGMIU. You can follow the CCG @NHSCCCCG.

Over the last week the CCG has discussed the closure with local GPs and a number of local organisations, including trustees of the hospital, Faversham town councillors, Swale Borough Council and MPs. The CCG will be discussing the closure at Kent County Council’s Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) on 29 November. 

Dr Mark Jones, Chair of NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG, said: “We do not take the decision lightly, but we have to be realistic – it would appear that no provider wants to take on the service as it would not be financially viable for them to do so.

“It’s important that we keep the closure in perspective – around 800 people per month use the service. Of those, only 300 attended for a minor injury and at least 500 attend with a minor illness or for a treatment such as dressings or injections which are best dealt with elsewhere. For example, at a GP practice, pharmacy or through NHS 111.

“All of our practices 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. We are also looking at rolling out an ‘enhanced patient offer’ which would mean all practices will be provided with the opportunity to provide a dressing and nursing service for their patients.

“We’re aware some people have expressed concern about the treatment of serious life threatening conditions. But it’s important to clarify that an MIU should not be used if patients have those concerns, in fact it could be quite dangerous. Your GP surgery, 999 or NHS 111 are the places to contact when you have serious health concerns.”

Following last week’s announcement that the minor injuries unit will be closing in March 2014 some people have highlighted concerns about the potential impact on the rest of the hospital. 

Commenting on the impact to the wider hospital, Dr Jones said: “Other services provided at the hospital will not be affected by the closure of the minor injuries service. The minor injuries unit treatment area is very small - around 34m2 – that’s just over three per cent of the entire building space. As such the unit’s contribution to the running costs of the hospital is also quite small – around £7,500 per year. “The CCG will still be paying the hospital around £236,000 towards the running costs of other services that operate at the hospital.”

If anyone has any comments or concerns that they would like to discuss with NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group they can call 01227 791359, email c4.ccg@nhs.net or write to the CCG: NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG, Brook House, John Wilson Business Park, Reeves Way, Chestfield, Whitstable, CT5 3DD.

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