As the annual drive to get fitter and healthier in the New Year is well underway, the Health Board is advising anyone who has a slip, trip or fall while out running or at the gym which requires medical attention, to call NHS24 to access a consultation with a minor injuries specialist and avoid an unnecessary wait at A&E.
With 57,000 foot and ankle related trips to A&E every year, it is estimated hundreds of hours could be saved for patients across Greater Glasgow and Clyde by accessing a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) instead. In addition to reducing waiting times for patients, more effectively using MIUs also allows A&E staff to focus on looking after those with the most serious illnesses.
MIUs, which operate throughout the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) health board area, are able to assess and treat a vast range of injuries which include strains, sprains and suspected fractures and breaks and often have shorter waiting times than A&Es.
Any patient with acute foot and ankle pain should call NHS24 on 111 to access the service. A highly trained NHSGGC nurse will then assess them over the phone or virtually and if appropriate, will make a booking at the patient’s nearest MIU. If A&E is nearer, such as for residents within Inverclyde, the patient may be given a time to attend there. The patient will be given homecare advice to minimise discomfort in the period between the call and their appointment.
There are three dedicated MIUs across NHSGGC:
- Stobhill Hospital: open 9am – 9pm daily
- Vale of Leven: open 24 hours
- New Victoria Hospital: open 9am – 9pm daily
Outside of MIU opening hours, patients can also access A&E via NHS24 by calling 111. If the injury is serious, the patient should always go straight to A&E or call 999.
Consultant MSK Physiotherapist, Margot Cohen, commented: “For most people with suspected sprains or fractures, the norm would be to go straight to A&E to then be referred on to radiology to access an X-ray. This means they have to wait in often busy Emergency Departments, and they are generally not those requiring the most immediate care, so they have to wait longer periods before being seen.
“By accessing an MIU through NHS24, patients can avoid the queue at A&E as MIU waiting times are usually shorter. Through NHS24 they interact with NHSGGC’s ‘Flow Navigation Centre’, a brand-new service with a high-level virtual consultation with a specialist practitioner who can then book them in, or refer them directly to another appropriate service.
“The message is simple – if you think you’ve sprained, broken or fractured your foot or ankle, please phone NHS24 on 111 to access a specialist review. It will get you seen faster, and it supports our frontline emergency staff who can focus on delivering life-saving care.”
More about the Flow Navigation Centre: The FNC is a central hub operated by a team of highly skilled and experienced NHSGGC nursing staff who help manage referrals through NHS 24 either by providing immediate advice and treatment, or, by providing onward booking into specialist care. The FNC forms part of the Right Care, Right Place model.