RESIDENTS with a minor injury are being left angry and frustrated after being sent miles from their local town for help by the NHS 111 helpline.
Councillors and MP Graham Stuart are concerned that in the five weeks after the minor injuries unit (MIU) closed at Withernsea Hospital, call handlers - based in Wakefield - are sending people on long treks for treatment when they are supposed to be offered an appointment at a new “8 to 8” centre at the hospital.
Withernsea Mayor Terry Dagnall is among those who have called 111, only to be advised to go to Hull or Beverley. In the end he “just suffered.”
He said: “I phoned up about a sprained ankle and they suggested an emergency centre 25 to 30 miles away, so I said what about Withernsea? They didn’t know what to say to me.
“When I spoke to the CCG about it, they made up some excuses.”
He said: “It was very bad experience. I told them they didn’t need to just educate the people of Withernsea, but also those on the switchboard.”
Coun Lyn Healing, who represents South East Holderness, has been inundated with complaints.
One resident broke his wrist and went to the MIU only to find it closed. He was then told to go 50 miles to A&E at Grimsby. It was “packed solid” he had to wait over four hours.
A pensioner in her 80s phoned 111 at 10.30pm at night with a twisted ankle and was told to go to Hull Royal Infirmary. She doesn’t have a car.
Another rang with an infected cut on his hand to be told there was “no such thing” as an 8 to 8 centre and was also told to go to Hull. In the end he had to drive himself.
She said: “My phone is jammed with texts and messages from residents who have been sent everywhere but an 8 to 8 centre.
“People are being told to stay away from A&E unless it is absolutely urgent, but they are sending people there.
“The CCG and City Health Care Partnership (who provide the service) need to sit down and sort this out. I expected some teething problems but this is ridiculous. We are in the fifth week and if anything it seems to be getting worse. The consensus among residents is that it has been set up to fail.”
The MIU was closed despite massive opposition from residents and doctors.
Last year Holderness Health Alliance said the decision “substantially reduces services to nearly 50,000 patients in Holderness.” It warned: “Patients with the highest health needs and lowest access to transport will lose out. Our view is this will impact further on their health.”
Coun Healing said the CCG appeared “unaccountable” and is asking residents to contact her or Mr Stuart.
In a statement the CCG’s chief officer Jane Hawkard said the centre would not show up as an option, if the symptoms were not “appropriate.”
The centre should be able to treat cuts and grazes, sprains and strains, wound and wound infections, minor burns and scalds, minor head injuries, and insect and animal bites. Transport can be arranged for those with no means of getting to Beverley.
Ms Hawkard added: “All patients are different; some may only need self-care advice, or some may present with other accompanying symptoms which could signify something else going on that would need to be clinically managed on a different pathway. By calling NHS111 the patient will be directed to the most appropriate treatment.”