The Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at the New Victoria Infirmary has now treated more than 80,000 patients.
The milestone has been achieved four years after opening its doors to patients in 2009.
The number of patients attending the unit for faster treatment of a minor injury has increased year on year since the unit opened and has risen by some 13 per cent over the past year.
Staff are delighted that despite the existing Victoria Infirmary A&E being literally across the road patients are increasingly choosing the right and appropriate destination for their healthcare freeing up A&E for those who really need it.
Run by specialist Emergency Nurse Practitioners (ENPs) the unit is open between 9am and 9pm for patients who are injured or ill but who do not need to go to A&E.
By attending an MIU patients with minor or less serious injuries gain rapid access to highly skilled clinical teams meaning they wait for less time before treatment than they might at an A&E where emergency teams need to concentrate on more seriously ill patients.
Victoria MIU Emergency Nurse Practitioner, John Cowi,e has worked at the unit since it opened. He and his 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.
John said: “We are very proud of the fast, quality service that we offer and are delighted that more and more Southsiders are continuing to attend our unit.
“It also means that more and more people are accessing our services appropriately which is very important particularly as the Victoria Infirmary A&E will close in 2015 when a new A&E for the whole of the Southside will open at the New South Glasgow Hospitals Campus on the site of the existing Southern General.
“We 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.”
Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “We know that our health service can face added pressure in the winter months and NHS boards have to be ready to manage potential increases in demand.
“That is why we are continuing to make improvements through our three year £50 million unscheduled care action plan, which aims to improve the way that emergency care operates across Scotland.
“A key element of the unscheduled care action plan is to ensure that patients receive the care they need at the right time and the right place. Minor injuries units can play an important role in supporting this and helping to treat people, especially over the winter period. These are welcome figures that show people are making use of these units. Make sure you know who to turn to when you are ill. For some illnesses, your local pharmacist, GP, NHS 24 or minor injuries unit may be a more suitable place to go to rather than A&E.”
NHSGGC Director of Emergency Care and Medicine, Anne Harkness, said: “The MIU is an important service that offers patients an important alternative to A&E. The service is there to ensure anyone who has suffered a relatively minor injury such as a bone fracture or someone who needs stitches is seen quickly by qualified staff.
“I am pleased that so many people in the community are using services for unscheduled care appropriately, freeing up A&E departments to look after those who are more seriously unwell. There are some instances however where people are still presenting at A&E when in actual fact their symptoms or condition could easily be managed at a MIU. I would therefore urge those who haven’t yet tried an MIU to use it as an alternative to going to A&E if their condition requires urgent assessment but is less serious.”
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Notes to Editor
MIUs do 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 one and five years should be taken to either Yorkhill A&E or the nearest adult emergency department.