We’ve run a number of stories about the Queen Alexandra Hospital at Cosham being inundated with patients attending the Accident and Emergency department. After any sort of accident, or if somebody is feeling particularly unwell, it is still regarded by many as the first port of call.
But what percentage of patients presenting themselves to A&E turn out to have injuries or symptoms that could be dealt with at clinics in the community? Often, they could seek treatment locally without adding to the burden of the hospital.
So we’re pleased to report today that nine walk-in clinics for people with minor injuries have been launched in the Havant and Waterlooville area. Doctors’ surgeries are to provide the service to treat injuries such as cuts, bruises and dislocations.
The scheme is part of a package of health improvements, including the Oak Park Community Clinic that will be able to take up to 24,000 outpatient appointments, as well as provide X-rays, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry and MRI.
Campaigners have been fighting for years for a minor injury service in the Havant area and now they can celebrate success.
The plan makes so much sense. Not just because it reduces the pressure on A&E, but because it is much more convenient for people to seek medical help close to their homes rather than travel to Portsmouth.
Of course, in a real emergency it is best to go straight to hospital. But if people know exactly what injuries and conditions can be treated by medical staff at the community clinics, then they will be more likely to use them. So we think education is the key here. That also means everybody being fully aware of the clinic’s opening times (8am and 6.30pm, Monday to Friday) and that there is no need for an appointment or to be registered with the doctor you see.
And here’s another thought. If people from the Havant area persist in going to A&E with ailments that could be treated at a GP clinic, maybe bosses should consider instructing staff to redirect them, not treat them.