Belhaven Minor Injuries Service – Recommendations Accepted

East Lothian Community Health Partnership (CHP) has approved recommendations that the Minor Injuries Service (MIS) at Belhaven Hospital should no longer be provided due to concerns about its sustainability. The recommendations were accepted at East Lothian CHP sub-committee on 6 September 2012. 

David Small, General Manager, East and Midlothian Community Health Partnerships, NHS Lothian, said:  “We have known for some time that demand for this minor injury service is low, averaging only 10 patients per month in the last year.  Most importantly this is a patient safety issue.  Good clinical practice advises that in order to maintain crucial clinical skills and competencies, staff treating minor injuries should see a minimum of 1500 patients a year.”

The Belhaven Forum, a special group formed to consider the future of services at Belhaven Hospital has held a series of meetings over the past year.  The Forum is made up of members of the local community, GPs, clinicians, councillors, and representatives from the Public Partnership Forum. The review of the minor injuries service has been fully discussed with the Forum and their views and thoughts have contributed to the recommendations being made.  Importantly, the review of the Minor Injuries Service will not affect the future of the other services at Belhaven Hospital.

The Hospital also provides NHS continuing care beds, beds for patients admitted by local General Practitioners and East Lothian Council Care Home beds.

Regular meetings have also taken place with staff to discuss and keep them informed of the proposals.  Staff jobs remain secure and staffing levels at the hospital will be unaffected.

There are currently existing alternative minor injury services in the local area which offer high quality and safe patient healthcare.

A total of 75 per cent of East Lothian GP practices offer a local service for minor injuries including the three practices in Dunbar.  Edington Hospital in North Berwick provides a 24-hour nurse-led minor injury service and the NHS Lothian out-of-hours service operates from Roodlands Hospital. In addition, NHS 24 and NHS Inform provide accessible patient advice and information on minor injuries and ailments around the clock. All Community pharmacies in Lothian also provide a minor ailments service.

Minor injuries include sprains and strains, minor burns, cuts and grazes, and minor eye injuries. A minor injuries service is not an emergency service which is for people who are seriously ill and require emergency care.