Belhaven Hospital service to be axed later this month

The minor injuries service at Belhaven Hospital, Dunbar, is to be axed from the end of the month as a result of low patient demand.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 24th September 2012, 7:53 am

A recommendation that the service should no longer be provided was approved by East Lothian Community Health Partnership last week after concerns were raised about its sustainability.

NHS Lothian says minor injuries - such as sprains and strains, minor burns, cuts and grazes, and minor eye injuries - can still be treated at Dunbar’s three GP practices, at Edington Hospital in North Berwick and Roodlands Hospital in Haddington.

It has also given assurances that the decision will not impact on the future other services at Belhaven Hospital and that staffing levels will be unaffected.

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Belhaven Hospital also provides NHS continuing care beds, beds for patients admitted by local GPs and East Lothian Council care home beds.

David Small, general manager, East and Midlothian Community Health Partnerships, said: “We have known for some time that demand for this minor injury service is low, averaging only 10 patients per month in the last year.

“Most importantly this is a patient safety issue. Good clinical practice advises that in order to maintain crucial clinical skills and competencies, staff treating minor injuries should see a minimum of 1,500 patients a year.”

A series of meetings has been held over the past year by the Belhaven Forum, a group set up to consider the future of services at the 35-bed hospital. The views of the group - including GPs, councillors, clinicians and community representatives - contributed to the recommendation that the service be discontinued.

NHS Lothian said regular meetings had also taken place with staff to discuss and keep them informed of the proposals.