Shropshire Star

Shropshire's minor injuries units face review

The future of Shropshire’s Minor Injury Units will be looked at as part of a major review. Health bosses have launched the review to look at community care in Shropshire.


The review will look at the county’s four minor injury units (MIUs) in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Whitchurch and Oswestry, community beds and also DAART – a specialist service including assessment by an expert in older people.

Dr Simon Freeman, accountable officer at the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said the review was not about “cutting services”.

He said: “The NHS cannot cut services. What we have to do is to find ways of treating more patients with the money we have. It is more about efficiency than cost cutting.

“We launched the review due to some of the services we have were poorly commissioned.

“We have a rapidly ageing population and we are in deficit. So things need to change to be sustainable for the future.”

New figures, released by Shropshire CCG, show by 2025 the number of patients in Shropshire aged 65 to 84 will increase by 17.6 per cent.

A total of 23,073 patients attended Shropshire’s MIUs last year. Health bosses say that level of activity was relatively low and worked out at less than one patient per hour in some units.

Dr Finola Lynch, GP member of Shropshire CCG, said: “These services need to be looked at.

“They need to be fairer and available for all the population, no matter where they live.

“We have to look at what suits each area best. Shropshire patients are not getting the same equity of access across the county.

“We have no pre-judgement. We now want to talk to staff and patients to feed the information back into our review.”

In a paper due to be discussed by Shropshire CCG tomorrow, it states this year Ludlow MIU was closed on five occasions and Oswestry on seven occasions due to staff shortages.

The report says: “This causes frustration for patients who arrive at units and cannot be seen and puts unplanned pressure on local alternatives e.g. primary care.

“MIU staff absence and vacancies in 2016/17 resulted in SCHT paying over £217,000 in agency fees.

“The total cost to the CCG in 2016/17 to deliver minor injury services across the county was £1,823,945.”

The review is also looking at community beds.

During 2016/17 £789,527 was spent on agency staff to ensure Bishop’s Castle, Ludlow, Bridgnorth and Whitchurch inpatient wards were adequately staffed.

Dr Lynch said: “Ideally the closer to home patients are treated, the better it is for them.

“The research we did showed that a third of the patients in beds could have been managed in another setting.

“So we need to look at how we commission community bed-based care and its integration with other community services.”

A four week engagement exercise will now be carried out to obtain further patient and public comment before options for future models will be presented to the CCG board in January 2018.