CALLS have been made for a walk-in facility to be available in the north of Portsmouth to help ease pressure on Queen Alexandra Hospital.
It comes as figures received by The News show that between December 19, 2016 and January 2 this year one in seven people who attended A&E had minor illnesses or injuries which could have been treated elsewhere.
There should be talks about a walk-in clinic being at the hospital.Flick Drummond
Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the data from Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Cosham emergency department, showed that 648 patients had their conditions categorised as the following:
*Bruise, contusions or abrasion.
* Muscle injury.
* Sprain or ligament injury.
* Laceration, bite or incised wound.
According to NHS guidelines all of the above should be treated at walk-in clinics, through the 111 service or by a GP.
Of the 648, 83 people had ‘no abnormality detected’.
During the two-week period, out of the categories, around one third of the patients had lacerations, bites or an incised wound, which is caused by a sharp object.
December 19 and January 2 saw the joint-most patients with minor injuries at 55.
In total, over the fortnight, 4,499 patients were treated at A&E.
Politicians and councillors in Portsmouth are now calling for a walk-in facility to be available for residents in the north of the city.
At the moment, the nearest one is at St Mary’s Hospital, off Milton Road, in Milton.
It is thought some patients might be using A&E because it is their nearest treatment centre.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘More still needs to be done to ensure people know what the treatment options are for them, from a pharmacy or GP to walk-in centres.
‘I hope that some analysis is being done about the types of complaints and which part of the city people are coming from.
‘For example it could be that people are coming to the hospital because it is nearer than other treatment options, or they have found it hard to get an appointment elsewhere.
‘The more we can ensure only A&E cases go there the more we will be helping them deliver a good service.’
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond will be spending time in A&E soon to see the demands faced by its staff.
She said having a walk-in clinic at QA Hospital might help filter patients to correct places.
‘The clinical commissioning groups look at what services are available frequently and I would like them to see if there are enough alternative facilities to A&E,’ she said.
‘There should be talks about a walk-in clinic being at the hospital. It may be that having a service in the north of the city would help A&E.
‘I understand there is a lack of space at QA but they already have a GP on-site within the emergency department.’
Mrs Drummond added: ‘Maybe there just needs to be more publicity about where people should be going whether its to their GP, the walk-in clinic or phoning 111.’
As previously reported in The News, QA Hospital was under pressure in December with ambulances queueing to handover patients and services being diverted to Southampton General Hospital.
At one point, A&E was closed for four hours and extra consultants drafted in to deal with the number of admissions.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for adult social care and public health at Portsmouth City Council, supports the idea of a clinic in the north of Portsmouth.
He said: ‘The A&E department is clearly under pressure so it is important people attend only when it’s an emergency.
‘The NHS does have other round-the-clock services and these needed to be more clearly signposted.
‘I think it would be sensible to have something like a walk-in centre within the hospital in order to direct people who are at A&E but aren’t an emergency.’
In a document linked to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Sustainability and Transformation Plan, which looks at how healthcare will be delivered over the next five years, it says creating a Cosham (Portsmouth North Hub) is a high priority. It states a project milestone is to deliver the hub my March 2019.
Sophie Gough, consultant in emergency medicine at QA Hospital, said: ‘The emergency department is here to provide emergency care for patients with issues such as breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness, severe chest pain, serious accidents and severe bleeding.
‘We want to ensure that the right people are in the right place, so please think twice before you come here. It may be that your GP or minor injury unit would be a better place for you to be seen quicker and more appropriately.’
St Mary’s walk-in clinic is open Monday to Friday 7.30am until 10pm and on weekends and bank holidays between 8am and 10pm.
It is open to all NHS patients and no appointments are required.
They can treat patients with suspected broken limbs, minor head injuries, strains and sprains, minor scalds and burns, bites and stings, ear and throat infections and coughs and colds.
For more information about decided where to be treated, visit nhs.uk and click ‘services near you’.