SUPPORTERS of Haslemere Hospital minor injuries unit fearful that a facility that treats 8,000 patients annually could close to meet new national NHS urgent care requirements, voiced frustration at the brief slot provided for questions in the first public meeting held by local care providers.
But they were told by Guildford and Waverley CCG representatives holding the event on September 16 at Haslewey that it was not a public consultation, rather it was an ‘initial engagement’ to help inform how best to provide urgent care services.
The CCG told the meeting that no decisions had been made about the future of the unit and this was the first phase of its public engagement programme to get feedback on how services were used.
A shortlist of future options will be drawn up based on feedback received and that will go out to public consultation.
Urgent care clinical lead Grayshott GP Dr Seun Akande, said: “This is a national mandate but also a good time to improve urgent care services in Guildford and Waverley and we are very keen to get your thoughts.
“We have a challenge locally as the minor injuries unit doesn’t fulfil the standards. This is a conversation about what we want to do.”
Those attending what they hoped might be a Q&A session, instead found themselves divided into tables to rate their personal urgent care services experiences and how they would get help in scenarios including a head injury at a Saturday match.
Mutinying as the scenarios workshop got under way, one attendee shouted: “Everyone came here because they are concerned the unit might close.
“I understand you don’t know, but this looks like a tick box sesion. These questions are what I would answer in a training course at work.”
Bowing to the mounting frustration, the CCG agreed to cut the workshops short to allow more time for questions.
Haslemere mayor John Robini was applauded when he said: “A lot of people came here wondering about the safety of Haslemere Hospital. We must make sure we reinforce the hospital and GP surgery. We need to make sure the service here works.”
When asked if the unit would have to close if its hours could not be increased to become a new-style urgent treatment centre, Dr Akande said: “If we put a shiny new centre here in Haslemere can we find the staff to run it and the resources to keep it going?
“We must find a way to meet the criteria.”
* The Better Care Together feedback deadline is Sunday, September 29. For more information and to take part go to: www.guildfordandwaverleyccg.nhs.uk.