FOCUS: The MIU is a lifeline for thousands

Young mum Clare Barnett, injured during a netball game, with MIU sister and lead nurse practitioner Rose Shortland. Looking on are Clare's son, Joshua, and mum-in-law, Brenda Miller. SG160115-110TW
Young mum Clare Barnett, injured during a netball game, with MIU sister and lead nurse practitioner Rose Shortland. Looking on are Clare's son, Joshua, and mum-in-law, Brenda Miller. SG160115-110TW
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More than 12,000 people a year turn to the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Spalding’s Johnson Community Hospital to be treated for just about everything from cut fingers to simple bone fractures.

Sister and lead nurse practitioner Rose Shortland (53) said: “It’s very variable, unpredictable.

Injured teacher Philip Winfield makes his way to X-ray with wife Rachel. SG160115-106TW

Injured teacher Philip Winfield makes his way to X-ray with wife Rachel. SG160115-106TW

“Basically we deal with minor injuries so it’s people with simple injuries such as minor head injuries, sprains, broken bones, foreign bodies in eyes, ears, noses and throats.

“We can have 50-plus people on a busy day and on a quiet day 20 to 25, but it mostly hovers between the mid 30s and 40s.”

Sometimes people present with more acute conditions.

Rose said: “We have to assess the patient and decide where’s the best place for them to be. If it’s chest pain – a cardiac problem – we would get a 999 ambulance to get them to the proper centre. Lincoln is the centre for people to go with heart attacks.”

Emergency nurse practitioner Rose McCormack studies an X-ray of a patient's hand. SG160115-107TW

Emergency nurse practitioner Rose McCormack studies an X-ray of a patient's hand. SG160115-107TW

On Friday morning waiting room numbers ebbed and flowed with the walking – or slightly hobbling – wounded.

Spalding mum Clare Barnett (27) was there with her son, Joshua Miller, who is almost a year old, and mum-in-law Brenda Miller.

Clare said: “I have hurt my ankle playing netball. I went over on it last night while playing at Boston.”

She could have gone to Pilgrim’s accident and emergency that night, but opted to get a lift home to be with Joshua and head for the MIU when it opened.

A nurse practitioner wheeled Clare off for an assessment and it was good news.

Clare said: “I just have to rest it and elevate it – it’s painkillers until Sunday. The swelling has got to go down before they can strap it up.

“They’re great. They are very quick and efficient.”

Teacher Philip Winfield (40), who lives over the road from the hospital, was nursing a painful knee injury after tripping and falling as he left Kirton’s Thomas Middlecott Academy.

He too was smiling after an X-ray and examination as nothing was broken. He was given medication.

Philip, a father of two, said: “It’s nice and close and probably quicker than going to Boston. I have been here with the kids when they have been ill for different reasons. I have never had any problems – it’s convenient.”

Spalding mum of two Chantell Hewitt (25) has been to the hospital with her daughters for problems including a fractured elbow and split head.

After emerging from her assessment for a ten-day-old wrist problem, Chantell said: “I have got ligament damage and I have to keep moving it. I am pleased I am not in plaster that’s for sure.”

It’s almost six years since the hospital opened in Pinchbeck Road, drawing together services formerly provided at the old Johnson Hospital, Welland Hospital and Holland Road Clinic.

Looking at the MIU waiting room, the clinical rooms, the nurses’ station and the corridors it might as well have been yesterday because everything gleams like a new pin.

The MIU offers an 8am-6pm service 365 days a year.

The MIU at the old Johnson closed at 6pm on Saturday, May 30 2009 – and the new unit was up and running at 8am the following day.

Rose said: “I have got fond memories of the old Johnson Hospital because I am a Johnson Hospital baby myself.

“I do miss it but to be quite realistic, by the time we were moving, we were ready for a new hospital because it was old and no longer fit for purpose.

“To come here was absolutely wonderful. We were absolutely thrilled with it and it’s nice to have everybody under one roof.

* The busy MIU at Spalding’s Johnson Community Hospital is also the base of urgent medical care outside of normal GP hours.

Patients can access the Out of Hours service by calling 111.

The Out of Houses service runs from 6.30pm-8am on weekdays and 24 hours a day on weekends and Bank Holidays.

Staff are based in the MIU for appointments at weekends and Bank Holidays, but the team support the South Holland area throughout the entire week with home visits as required.

• People needing treatment for minor injuries are attending the MIU in their thousands.

Some 9,052 were treated at the unit between April-December last year.

In the financial year to March 2014, the unit saw some 12,107 patients – and 12,268 in the previous financial year.

Top reasons for going to the unit are: cuts to the fingers, sprained ankles, eye conditions, head injuries, dislocated wrists and dislocated or fractured fingers as well as a variety of other hand/wrist problems.