A new dedicated emergency service for patients with minor injuries has opened at the New Victoria Hospital, giving faster treatment for the thousands of Southsiders who suffer a minor injury every year.
The opening of the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at the New Victoria Hospital marks an important step in plans to modernise and streamline Glasgow’s Emergency Services.
Run by specialist emergency nurse practitioners, backed up by emergency medicine consultants, the unit is open between 9am and 9pm for patients who are not seriously injured or ill enough to go to a full-blown A&E.
The new structure means that patients with minor or less serious injuries gain rapid access to highly skilled clinical teams, leaving A&E teams to concentrate on more seriously ill patients.
In fact around half of attendees at A&E should be more appropriately seen at MIUs, and in the Victoria’s case it is estimated that around 31,000 out of the 75,000 patients who present annually.
The MIU will operate in tandem with the existing A&E at the older Victoria Infirmary which remains open until the new South Glasgow Hospital is up and running in 2015.
Sister Julie Walker is the lead emergency nurse practitioner at the New Victoria MIU and has 17 years experience of working in A&E.
She and her colleagues have all undergone advanced training to carry out minor procedures, interpret X-rays and issue prescriptions that before would have been a doctor’s responsibility.
Julie said: “We tend to see people who have limb injuries such ankle or wrist fractures as the result of a fall, but are not life threatening.
“We also have the option of stabilising and then re-directing patients with more serious conditions to the A&E across the road.”
Staff rotate between both departments to allow MIU staff to keep their A&E skill set honed.
“We reckon we will see about 125 patients a day at the MIU,” said Julie,” who can be treated in our 10 treatment areas, have X-rays taken and plaster applied to broken bones.”
Ian Anderson, Lead Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the Victoria Infirmary for 25 years, described the MIU facilities as “terrific.”
Mr Anderson went on: “They allow us to stream patients more effectively. Patients with minor injuries can be looked after by highly trained nursing colleagues and be seen promptly and appropriately.
“The more seriously injured we will continue to see at the old Victoria where it will be business as usual at the A&E.
“Similar units in hospitals in England have been very successful. Their experience has shown that local communities will learn about these units, the public are very sophisticated and they will use the unit appropriately.”
MIUs will treat adults and children five years and over for a range of injuries including bone sprains and fractures; minor head and neck injuries; cuts and grazes including stitching; infected wounds; eye and ear injuries; minor burns and scalds; and assess minor injuries and refer patients to specialists if required.
They will not treat any illnesses including stomach pains, abscesses and rashes; gynaecological problems; pregnancy problems; alcohol or drug-related problems; mental health problems; drug overdose; severe allergic reactions; breathing problems; chest pain or collapsed or unconscious patients.
All children under 12 months should attend the A&E department at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill, and youngsters between 1-5 years should be taken to either Yorkhill A&E or the nearest adult emergency department.
For further information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.