Appointments system slammed

NHS TAYSIDE has defended the new appointment system at Arbroath’s Minor Injury Unit after a local woman claimed she was asked to arrange another time to seek help for her mother’s profusely bleeding hand.

In a letter to the Herald, Miss L. Coutts describes how her mother cut herself with a sharp knife in a kitchen accident last Sunday.

The pair then went straight to the unit at Arbroath Infirmary to have the injury seen to but when they arrived, the doors to the unit were locked.

And after gaining access to the building, Miss Coutts says they were then told that they should have made an appointment first and would have to wait.

Miss Coutts explained: “I was appalled. My mother’s hand was still bleeding and only stemmed by a kitchen towel.

“We do not blame the staff in any way, after all they are only following rules and the treatment my mother received was grand.

“But I just do not know how this can work. You do not know in advance that something like this will happen.”

However, Hazel Forbes, service manager of the Minor Illness and Injury Unit (MIIU), said: “All patients who need to access the out of hours service should phone NHS 24 where they will be given the most appropriate medical advice which could include asking them to attend their nearest Minor Illness and Injury Unit.

“Since March this year, to improve the service delivered out-of-hours, an appointment system has been introduced at MIIUs and Primary Care Emergency Centres in Tayside, including at Arbroath Infirmary. If patients are advised to attend an MIIU they will be given an appointment time to attend their nearest centre. If, however, patients self-present at an MIIU, without going through NHS 24, they will be given the next available appointment. 

“However, at all times emergency patients would be automatically prioritised over patients waiting in the department and would be seen first.

“Staff aim to see and treat 90 per cent of all patients attending the unit within one hour.

“During weekday evenings the side door to the MIIU closes at 6 p.m. until 8 a.m. the next morning. At weekends the side door is locked on Friday evenings at 6 p.m. until 8 a.m. Monday morning. All patients presenting to the MIIU at the weekend should use the main door at the front of the hospital in the Queen Mother Wing.”