Named – the ten Minor Injury Units in Cornwall due to close

Named – the ten Minor Injury Units in Cornwall due to close

Named – the ten Minor Injury Units in Cornwall due to close under Accountable Care

3rd January 2018

By Graham Smith

Cornwall’s network of minor injury units are under imminent threat of closure, according to an analysis of NHS plans.  Ten sites, from Bude to Helston, would be scrapped.

Only Penzance, Camborne, Truro and Liskeard will survive – under a new designation of “Urgent Care Centre” – while all of the other current local minor injury facilities are due to close.

According to a government report last year, the NHS should where possible seek to sell its property to help finance patient care.  This means that unless the ten sites most at risk have a viable alternative business case, they could be getting a visit from the estate agents very soon.

The Edward Hain hospital, at St Ives, does not have a minor injuries unit but has now been closed for nearly two years on disputed fire safety grounds, resulting in a significant loss in community beds.

The analysis of published NHS management reports has been carried out by academic Dr Peter Levin, who has published his findings on his Social Policy 4 Cornwall website.

The various NHS partners in Cornwall, and Cornwall Council, first suggested closing Cornwall’s minor injury units under the guise of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) Outline Business Case, first published in October 2016: “We propose to replace the current Minor Injury Units with a new model of strategically located Urgent Care Centres across the spine of Cornwall.  The centres will provide enhanced, consistent and resilient clinical cover to meet the urgent care needs of all residents and visitors.”

Since then the NHS has declined to offer any information about where the Urgent Care Centres (UCCs) will be, because to do so would trigger a wave of protest everywhere else.  But the SP4C analysis of emerging UCC specifications has found that only Penzance, Camborne, Truro and Liskeard meet the required cost-benefit targets, as the STP moves rapidly to become an Accountable Care Organisation (subsequently re-branded as an Accountable Care System.)

Cornwall Council’s cabinet is due to vote in favour of setting up an ACO (or ACS) on 7th February.  There has been no public consultation.

This means that minor injury units at Bodmin, Falmouth, Fowey (currently “temporarily” closed), Helston, Launceston, Newquay, St Austell, Saltash (also “temporarily” closed), and Stratton, near Bude would all close.

Ten MIUs: disappearing from a hospital near you (unless the entire hospital has closed already)

As SP4C points out: “They treat sprains and strains, broken bones, traumatic wound infections (not surgical wounds), minor burns and scalds, head injuries (where the person has not been unconscious), insect and animal bites and stings, minor eye injuries, and cuts, bruising and grazes.  They are open 7 days a week, mostly from 8am to 8 or 10pm. All but one is equipped with X-ray facilities, although these are not available during all the open hours.  All the MIUs offer free car parking.”

SP4C also draws attention to the MIU run by GPs at the Stennack surgery, St Ives, which would not meet the new specifications of an Urgent Care Centre.

The SP4C analysis draws on a management report by Jackie Pendleton, of NHS Kernow, to a board meeting last month. The acronym appears to have changed from Urgent Care Centre to Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC), and says NHS Kernow has “made some progress in developing a draft service specification for a Cornwall UTC” which will be shared with groups like Healthwatch in February.

Ms Pendleton’s report goes on to identify Penzance, Camborne, Truro, and Liskeard as the only likely UTCs in Cornwall.  The judgement to give Liskeard the nod over Launceston could be particularly controversial, as both offer X-ray facilities and Launceston has recently had a £440,000 facelift.  The NHS Kernow report says: “The inclusion of Liskeard has the benefit of offering a more evenly geographical spread of designated sites, but should in no way be seen as pre-determining our future model of Urgent Treatment Centre locations.”

But according to SP4C it quickly becomes difficult for NHS and council officials to be seen to “change their minds,” even though the minor injury facilities in the relatively rural parts of Cornwall a recognised as relieving pressures on the already over-stretched Accident and Emergency departments at larger, general hospitals.

33 thoughts on “Named – the ten Minor Injury Units in Cornwall due to close

  1. We urgently need these units to remain open, relieving the pressure on our busy main hospitals. We have to travel for 1 1/2 hours to reach the main hospitals in either direction.

  2. How realistic is it to expect frail /ill/injured people to travel further to access healthcare especially as Cornwall has such poor transport links even during the daytime, this will lead to extra pressure on our paramedic and ambulance services who will be called upon to attend to and/or transport people to larger hospitals or urgent care centres. Not cost effective or person centered.

  3. Graham, your words have consequences. There are families whose Christmas has been ruined because they think their loved ones will be dead by next year after you told them that Cornwall Council is abolishing the NHS in Cornwall.
    Now you’re saying that EVERY Minor Injury Unit in North Cornwall WILL close but you know that Cornwall Council will never allow this to happen. Your click-bait stories may get subscriptions for your website or members for your party, but they are also causing real distress for people who actually need the NHS to stay alive.
    By all means ask difficult questions, but please don’t print things as facts when you know they are not.

    1. Totally agree Colin! TI red of the misleading statements being made to worry people! I will not be won over by ‘playground ‘ politics! Time for activists of whatever flavour, to grow up and stop spreading rumours!

  4. Colin, I stand by every word of every article.

    Although I am proud of my Labour Party membership, Cornwall Reports is not affiliated to any political party. I wonder if you have actually read the articles you criticise because you do seem to be spectacularly ill-informed. As a politician with a position to defend, you might not like the message. But don’t blame the messenger.
    If you still doubt that Cornwall Council is taking over the NHS, please watch the long video interview with your Liberal Democrat colleague Rob Rotchell. Listen to his words, not mine.

    You say that Cornwall Council would never allow every MIU in North Cornwall to close. Would this be the same council which pledged to fight the closure of Edward Hain hospital? Next Wednesday you have the opportunity to extract a promise from your own chief executive, that when she becomes the Single Commissioner, on 1st April, she will guarantee the future of those North Cornwall MIUs for years to come. I suspect she might agree to months, but not years.
    Unlike you, I do not have a vote in the council chamber. I shall be particularly interested to see how you use your vote.


    Graham Smith

    1. You stick by “every word of every article”.
      Can you name ten minor injury units which are going to close?

      1. Hi, Colin.

        As “Vice Chair of Cornwall Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee and a member of the panel which is conducting an inquiry into the next steps for integrating Health and Social Care in Cornwall.”

        Please can you tell us which minor injury units will NOT close?

        1. No, because the decision hasn’t been made yet.
          Options will be considered at meetings in February and a preferred option or shortlist of options will be put out to public consultation in late spring / early summer.
          You can argue to keep all sites open with no upgrades.
          You can argue for an extra site to be saved if you can justify which other one would be closed.
          But you can’t vote to spend more money because that decision is for MPs and on June 8th Cornwall’s progressive voters split their votes between two parties and allowed 6 Conservatives to win, even though most of them had less than 50% support.
          We progressives need to stick together and fight the real enemy. If we fight among ourselves, we’re letting the Conservatives off the hook for under-staffed out public services.
          I can’t say which MIUs will be upgraded and which will be closed, but I won’t support anything that makes services worse, and I certainly won’t support having only one facility between Truro and the Tamar.

  5. I contacted Adam Painter my councillor and leader of Cornwall Council. He says no decision has been taken. He also confirmed that locally Lib Dems would continue to fight for maintaining local services . So what’s going on? Is this speculation? Has health made the decision without consulting the Council? Is the CCG preempting the decision of the ACO, or are the Councillors out of touch? If you’ve got concrete evidence that the decision has been taken, I’m happy to pursue this with Adam Paynter and campaign in Launceston.

  6. This is disgusting I have been saying for years since Margaret Thatcher was in power that the conservative government will stop all nhs treatment and that is what they are doing only so that the people on low incomes cannot get treatment we are going back to the victorian era where only the rich survive because people like myself and my husband are a drain on the nhs and the benefits system. What ever happened to the right to live happy and free lives. I think it’s about time that the people in government took a pay cut if they had to live on the wages of the emergency services they would not survive but I would love to see them have the wages of the emergency services for an entire year and then see how they would manage. Let alone see them manage on the amount that my husband and myself have to live on because we can no longer work.

  7. Why on earth are they doing this !! The hospitals are pushed to their limits as it is.
    Everyone will just flock to the open minor injuries causing more waiting times and more stress for those poor doctors.
    Makes me so mad.

  8. They are doing this because they want to gradually implement a for profit American style of “health care”. With the closure of these places you might next see privately run 24 hour a day clinics popping up like McDonalds. You will then have to pay out of pocket for minor injury care, have insurance or do without.

    Then the hospitals will say to compete that they must charge, and you will be told to pay, have insurance or do without.

    Initially insurance prices will be affordable or subsidies will be offered. Once the NHS is no longer viable then the insurance rates will go up, and up, and up…

    Then those with the money, those in power will laugh all the way to the bank.

  9. Absolutely disgusting. I think those proposing this should spend time in the hospitals with the staff and witness first hand the pressure and stress they are under already! I’m sure they wouldn’t want to wait atleast 12 hours just to be seen if they had an injury, or if their child was injured….All because there will be no miu’s and everyone will be flocking to the same ones. Pen pushers we call them in the hospital!! They are oblivious to the reality! The miu’s relieve some of the pressure off treliske….which is regularly on Black alert. Doing this will make health care and society unsafe. What about those with no form of transport? Will you be paying for their taxis in emergencies?? If they are on low income they won’t be able to afford a taxi to these ‘new’ clinics/treliske, it’s atleast £40 from where I live to Liskeard which would be the nearest and even more to treliske…that’s just one way! Miu’s are valuable in Cornwall, as all the government are doing is putting more and more strain on the society and completely screwing us over. When will they open their eyes! Take a pay cut, you do NOT deserve the money you are on…that money should be for the nurses and doctors who work endlessly to provide 24hr care for patients….who then have to work even harder due to the strain YOU are putting on them! If this is implemented Cornwall will severely suffer!

    1. The proposal is to UPGRADE Minor Injury Units so that MORE people can be treated there and FEWER have to travel to Treliske or Derriford.
      We can all see that the Emergency Departments are overflowing but currently the nurse-led MIUs lack the equipment and doctor supervision to deal with lots of people. They say “emergency departments are for life-threatening situations only” but if you have a suspected fracture after 5pm you can’t be treated at the MIU because the radiologists have gone home!
      So MOST Minor Injury Units will be given more equipment, more staff and doctor supervision so they can be called “Urgent Treatment Centres”. Four hospitals already have most of these items, the others will need extra money spending on them.
      Unfortunately since Cornwall elected six Conservative MPs (which Labour described as it’s “best general election result ever in Cornwall”), we have been starved of the funding we need, so the only way to pay for the upgrades in most MIUs is for a few of the others to be closed.
      Meetings will be held in February to look at options for which ones to keep and which ones to lose. This will be followed by a public consultation where you will have your chance to argue for your preferred option.
      ~ You can argue to keep all the current MIUs, but there will be no money for upgrades
      ~ You can argue to save an MIU earmarked for closure, but you will need to say which other one you would close instead
      ~ What you CAN’T do is ask to spend money we don’t have. Cornwall Council has no power to raise money for the NHS and sadly our 6 Conservative MPs have voted against extra funding.

      Nobody is suggesting closing TEN minor injury units. In fact if you read the North Cornwall Labour Party Chairman’s article you will see that he doesn’t actually name ten Minor Injury Units for closure, despite the click-bait headline…

      1. Hi again, Colin,

        When you say we are “starved of funds” – this state of affairs began with the “Health and Social Care Act (2012) which removed from the Secretary of State the duty of providing universal healthcare. This was voted in by all Tory MPs and all bar 5 LibDem MPs during the coalition government. Labour MPs voted against. This was the act that paved the way for the current appalling situation in the NHS today.

        In your response, I am shocked that you write: “You can argue to save an MIU earmarked for closure, but you will need to say which other one you would close instead”. Please can you tell us which MIUs, in a rural area where people will have to travel huge distances are likely to be marked for closure`?

        At our STP “consultation” in Bude, last year, it was made clear that 6 UCCs (now called UTCs) “along the spine of Cornwall” would replace the MIUs currently in existence. According to your response, 4 of these have been identified. Please could you tell us what will happen to the MIUs in:

        Bodmin Community Hospital
        Camborne and Redruth Community Hospital – includes a Primary Care Centre
        Falmouth Community Hospital
        Fowey Community Hospital (“temporarily”closed)
        Helston Community Hospital
        Launceston Community Hospital
        Liskeard Community Hospital
        Newquay Community Hospital
        St Austell Community Hospital
        Saltash, St Barnabas Hospital
        St Mary’s Community Hospital
        Stratton Community Hospital

      2. Hi Colin, I can see from your posts that you and your Party have given some thought to the future of Cornwall NHS, in particular that of the many MIUs. I have been anxious to express my point of view about these and other health matters but, unfortunately, in the past year there has been just one meeting in the Bude area. This was our “STP” meeting, at which it was made clear that 6 UTC would be created and other facilities closed. I managed to make one brief contribution to the discussion and then we were directed to work in groups on pre-selected topics. I felt that the meeting had no time to arrive at any sort of consensus.
        I believe in consultation and find it hard to believe that so many decisions have been taken about Cornwall NHS with no further opportunity for North Cornwall’s views to be expressed. In fact, I understand from friends on the council, that many councillors have not yet been made aware of the full proposals. THIS IS NOT DEMOCRATIC! You may well complain about Tory austerity but you must also accept that your Party was fully compliant in creating this situation.
        The LibDems in Cornwall have a moral duty to resist these unreasonable cuts and also the unnecessary creation of a complex of NHS structures designed to facilitate the privatisation of healthcare.

        1. I believe that the second North Cornwall session was held in Camelford because people from Bude, Bodmin and Wadebridge found Launceston to far to reach. If you were at the first session you should have been invited to the second. Please email and ask to be invited to the third session next month. If you don’t get a reply, let me know.
          I agree that it feels frustrating to be diverted into answering a different question to the one you wanted to discuss. The answer is not to give up; follow it up afterwards. Email the team. They genuinely want your input, but with 40 people in the room it’s impossible to let everyone choose their own topic.
          I agree that too few people are up to speed with the latest plans. There is now lots of information on but it has been too slow getting there and far too few people know it exists. If you ask anyone involved who has complained the most about this, they will tell you it’s me!
          But the reason nobody knows the “full proposals” is that they haven’t been written yet! The third wave of workshops will happen in February and the full proposals will be published for consultation in late spring / early summer. I hope everyone will do their best to share the plans when they are revealed, and remember that whilst we will keep campaigning for more money, we have to make choices about how to make the most of what we’ve got.

  10. My husband had a two-and-a-half hour wait at Camborne & Redruth MIU yesterday to see a doctor. His GP surgery had sent him there because they had no appointments available. Remember when we were told Barncoose was going to be a walk-in centre which would replace and enhance the service which closed at Cardrew? That never happened. We were also told that the surrounding surgeries had plenty if capacity. If that was the case why are they having to send patients to Barncoose? Often there is no doctor there either. We can’t believe any promises that are made by NHS England or NHS Kernow. I only hope our Councillors will now refuse outright any proposal which involve a reduction in services.

    1. Of course we will oppose any overall reduction in services. But as you point out it’s no good having an urgent care centre if there aren’t enough doctors to staff it! GPs are retiring or walking away from the NHS at an alarming rate because the current setup is putting them under unbearable pressure. That is why it is so important that GPs have been involved in redesigning the system.
      At the moment too many people are going to the wrong place for help, sometimes because they don’t listen to what they’re told (e.g. if you’ve got a cold, go to your pharmacist not your GP), but also because they can’t get help in the right place (e.g. have to go to Truro for x-ray because MIU radiologist goes home at 5pm) or because they’ve been given bad advice (e.g. 111 call handler sends ambulance to “suspected heart attack” when someone has pulled a rib muscle).
      We’re trying to make sure everyone gets the right treatment in the right place at the right time. That should mean more services closer to home, not fewer.

  11. The whole NHS system is wrong. People in work who are contributing out of every pay-packet to the NHS as it was conceived in the 50’s should receive free treatment at sauce. All the others; tourists, foreign nationals who come here expecting to fall ill, (or give birth,) illegal immigrants et-al. should pay. If I go to a hospital in America or Europe I need to give them my credit card before anything happens. Here a simple NHS health-card or driving licence would be enough.

    “If you haven’t paid-in then expect to pay ” policy would reduce the drain on the NHS by 50%. Then there would be enough money to pay to keep all the ‘Cottage-Hospitals’ open and have loads of Nurses trained.

    1. If you go to an EU country, your healthcare is paid for by the NHS. If EU citizens come here, the NHS can claim their health costs back from their home country.
      If you come here from outside the EU on holiday, you DO have to pay for it (albeit that we send a bill afterwards rather than taking cash up front, and there may be some room for improvement in chasing this up).
      If you migrate here from outside EU, you have to pay for your own treatment and have to show that you have money in the bank before you arrive.
      Refusing treatment to Brits who haven’t “paid in” is against the spirit of the NHS and the Labour party.

  12. In camelford we are so far away from the two major hospitals that we rely on bodmin and launceston. Please don’t take these away!!!

  13. With all the extra house building across the county surely these facilities will be needed in the future even more than they are now?
    I feel these facilities should have more going on at them to relieve Treliske rather than the stealth winding down of them that has been evident over the last few years.

  14. It seems that the direction of travel for the NHS in 2018 and thereafter is being determined by a small group of Cornwall Council Officers, together with a few leading members of the Tory and LibDem Council groups. The increasing complexity of the network of NHS structures ensures that ordinary members of the public cannot easily access information about future intentions. Ordinary councillors admit to being confused about plans for the NHS. Such a top-down approach to planning the future of NHS Cornwall is undemocratic and lacks the usual checks and balances which govern the disposition of such gigantic sums of public money. The opportunities for exploitation by US healthcare organisations will be many and varied. As will the opportunities for individuals who have fore-knowledge of decisions to be taken. In a third-world country we would describe such secrecy and unnecessary complexity as being symptoms of institutional corruption. Cornwall councillors should immediately call a halt to present plans and insist on wider public consultation, as well as debates in the council to vote on all stages of any future NHS plans.

  15. I am furious and disgusted. Money talks every time. greedy, manipulative, power driven hipacrits who like to score browny points and have absolutely no idea of how the real world works, will flourish but the likes of honest hard working class people who can just keep their heads above water will suffer!!!!!!
    These people are beyond belief!!!!

  16. Falmouth hospital was left to the people of falmouth by Lord Falmouth/Kimberley (not sure which) so surely the government cannot do anything to this hospital without the full backing of the people of Falmouth!!!!!
    It’s sickening that the government is happy to provide money, housing etc for immigrants but shuns the needs of the British!!!!

  17. This cannot happen, with all these extra house a being built we need hospitals opening not closing. This would bring allsorts of pressure on the open hospitals aswell as unnecessary deaths of patients due to over flowing hospitals and already over tired staff. Who in their right mind would sign off on this?!

  18. Absolutely disgusting idea,Helston is building 900 supposed affordable houses,so you close the miu,honestly,what planet are these people on,certainly not ours .Will kill the elderly in this area,& the pressure on PZ ucs & Treliske will be tripled.Someone see some sense please!!!!

  19. I understand that Devon has chosen not to implement closure of their minor injury units on the basis that the population is very widespread over the county with poor road links to Hospitals.
    In light of the existing long delays and problems at A&Es Cornwall should be looking to maintain all existing MIUs and upgrading some of them to take pressure off A&Es.
    Can you imagine what it will be like during the tourist season ?
    It looks like I need to join the Labour Party to find out what is really going on and dig my oar in on this.

  20. We must put a stop to continual house building, we don’t have the infrastructure now let alone thousands of more houses and therefore people and so called experts making absolutely ludicrous decisions! SO PLEASE STOP NOW!!

  21. I remember the first STP meeting in Bude, when it was made very clear that the intention was to replace the MIUs with just six centres of excellence. And that GPs would also be pushed into fewer, larger groupings. This is not being made up by the Labour Party. It has been openly discussed for months. Sarah Newton is talking rubbish. Why doesn’t she just guarantee, together with Scott Mann and other local Tory MPs, that the MIUs will all remain open? That would stop any upset of Cornish residents.

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