Ambulances could take patients to minor injury units in north Essex

The walk-in centre in Colchester is one of three minor injuries units in north-east Essex which has

The walk-in centre in Colchester is one of three minor injuries units in north-east Essex which has been saved from closure. Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL - Credit: GEMMA MITCHELL

Minor injury units in north Essex could take ambulance patients under new plans from health chiefs.

The future of the centres in Clacton, Harwich and Colchester had been uncertain until recently with a review by the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (NEE CCG) considering all options on the future of the service – including closure.

However after public feedback – including protest marches and petitions – the CCG announced last month the minor injuries service would remain, and could be expanded or integrated with GP surgeries.

Now, in NEE CCG board papers published ahead of a meeting on Tuesday, July 25, it has been set out that the service will be expanded to take on more patients brought in by ambulance, in a bid to take pressure off Colchester General Hospital’s busy A&E department.

Services available at the units will include X-rays, and under NHS England guidelines – which NEE CCG is adopting for the centres – they should also have ECG and other basic testing services available. The national guidelines also state the centres should be open for at least 12 hours each day.

Elizabeth Amodio, head of urgent care at NEE CCG, said: “One of the key aims of the minor injury service is to reduce the number of injuries being seen in A&E, both for patients attending the service directly themselves or via an ambulance.

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“We are continuing to work with system partners to identify an enhanced number of conditions that may be treated in the minor injury service, that are currently conveyed to A&E by ambulance.”

In the future people will also be able to make appointments via the NHS non-emergency 111 number.

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Locations of the minor injury units are still to be confirmed, but NEE CCG has said there will be at least one in Colchester and one in Tendring.

Early talks about the Harwich centre have looked at the service there being run by local GPs, with the Mayflower Surgery already expressing an interest.

Care UK and Anglian Community Enterprise run the existing centres, which are minor injury units at Clacton Hospital and the Fryatt Hospital, Harwich, and the Walk-in Centre in Turner Road, Colchester.

The meeting sits in public from 2.30pm at Aspen House, Stephenson Road, Colchester.

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