Coronavirus: MP Steve Barclay re-assured closures of minor injury units he helped to save will only be temporary
PUBLISHED: 14:14 02 April 2020 | UPDATED: 14:14 02 April 2020
MP Steve Barclay says he has been given assurances that closure of the minor injury units at Doddington and Wisbech – revealed earlier today - are only temporary.
Health chiefs are to close both units because of a fall-off in numbers using the service during the coronavirus pandemic.
The clinics have also been hit by staff absences, but health authorities insist the measures are temporary,
Patients can still use the third local unit, at the Princess of Wales hospital in Ely, which will remain open.
Mr Barclay, the MP for NE Cambs, said: ““I have been in touch with local health leaders regarding this decision and have been given an assurance that these measures are temporary and solely to enable a better response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“As such, I support health leaders as they re-prioritise resources at this time of national emergency.”
Mr Barclay added: “I want to pay tribute to the NHS staff who are on the frontline of the battle against coronavirus. Their courage, expertise and dedication is crucial in making sure we overcome this challenge”.
The MP said: “I have long campaigned to protect the minor injury units in Wisbech, Doddington and Ely. It is of vital importance that these units re-open once the disruption of coronavirus subsides and pressure on local NHS services is relieved.”
Health chiefs say Wisbech and Doddington Minor Injury Units (MIUs) staff will play a vital role in the response to COVID-19 in the coming weeks.
A spokesman said: “The healthcare system across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is working together to create additional space to care for local people during the COVID-19 outbreak, whether they are affected by COVID-19 or require other healthcare services.
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“Clinical staff are also being brought together to deliver care to our local community in the most effective way possible.
As of Monday April 6, Wisbech and Doddington Minor Injury Units (MIUs) will both temporarily close to the public, to enable the experienced staff to be redeployed to provide vital additional capacity elsewhere in the local community.
Jan Thomas, accountable officer at NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Temporary changes to these minor Injury units will play an important role in the care we continue to provide for members of our community who need extra support, but do not require hospital care.
“The dedicated staff who work there will be able to use their skills and expertise to support the pressing health needs of our local communities during this unprecedented time.”
“Over recent weeks we have also seen far lower numbers of patients attending our Minor Injury Units in Fenland, thanks to people following self-care advice at home and due to increased social distancing.
“This reduced demand means that we have the capacity to better use our resources in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
For anyone requiring emergency medical care, the A&E departments at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, Peterborough City Hospital or Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, are available. She said the Ely MIU is still open at the Princess of Wales Hospital and people are also able to call NHS 111 or your local GP practice for advice.
Ms Thomas said: “Please don’t turn up at your GP practice, but call first for advice and are open to support patients, or for minor illnesses we would recommend local people visit NHS 111 online or call their local GP”.
Karen Peacock, who lives in Doddington, said: “This community needs this hospital.
“At a time like this I believe the MIU at Doddington is vital in protecting the community against COVID-19.
“Surely if more testing is brought out the hospital could be used as a testing centre, which would help to free up the main hospitals.”
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