The Driffield & Wolds Weekly today throws its full support behind the campaign to save our Minor Injuries Unit (MIU).
Driffield Town Council has vowed to fight to stop a closure of the vital hospital service at the town’s Alfred Bean Hospital. Fears of a possible closure emerged last week amid reports of financial pressures facing the East Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and amid claims that the service is underused.
If a closure went ahead, it would mean the people of Driffield and the Wolds having to travel at least 12 miles in order to receive emergency medical care – an outcome which local residents and Driffield Town Council find unacceptable.
Town Clerk Claire Binnington told the Wolds Weekly: “Driffield Town Council is extremely worried at this news that the Driffield MIU is under review and in danger of closing. “The unit is a fantastic and essential service to the town and the rural area.
“It is ludicrous to claim that our MIU is underused – everyone in the town can recount a story of when they have used the MIU, either for themselves or members of their family
“At a time when our town is expanding and has been identified as a Principal Town, this is yet another threat to already meagre services.
“Driffield Town Council will be discussing this on their next agenda in April and I have no doubt that they will be at the forefront of any campaign to save our beloved MIU, just as they were when we tried to save the beds at Alfred Bean.”
The Alfred Bean League of Friends is a group of volunteers who devote their time to raising funds in order to help keep the hospital up and running.
Sandra Wilkinson, chair of the Alfred Bean League of Friends, has stated that they will do all they can to stop the closure, which could happen as early as September, if the CCG agree to pursue this course of action.
She said: “The news came totally as a bolt out of the blue. We can’t say too much on it now as there isn’t a definitive decision so we will wait to see what develops.
“However, if it does come about that it will close; we will make sure that we fight for it not to. “It’s a real kick in the teeth for us as we do so much fundraising to keep Alfred Bean Hospital open but I know we won’t be the only ones who want it to stay open.”
Andy Stabler, of the Driffield & Wolds Weekly, said: “This news really did come as a surprise. We all know how important the MIU is. It is arguably the most important service in Driffield and the Wolds. “Here at the Driffield & Wolds Weekly we have started a campaign to stop the possibility of it closing, and we want your help by filling in our coupon and posting it to us or dropping it at the Town Council offices. The more support we get the more we can help fight this possible closure and keep what is a vitally important service, and at the same time possibly saves lives in the future.”
“I don’t know a family in the area who have not relied on it. “From something as daft as splinters to nasty wounds, often from sport, the MIU has been a saviour for thousands of people. If you call at the MIU, especially on a Saturday afternoon and see how busy it is, you will see that closing it is not an option. Imagine all these extra people flooding to other hospitals – which are already full to bursting – well outside of the area. It really is unthinkable.
“Imagine having no transport and your child has suffered a nasty cut, or you have had a bang to the head and you want it checking over, then what?
“So we ask, please fill in the coupon and post or drop off and let’s show our support for this service.”
The fate of other MIU units across the East Riding including Withernsea and Hornsea also hangs in the balance. Jane Hawkard, Chief Officer of the East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for deciding how health care is delivered across the region, said: “The CCG is committed to improving urgent care services across the East Riding, we need to consider the findings of the national urgent care review and ensure we deliver the right services for our population.
“We will be going to public consultation over the summer on a number of service options which we are in the process of working up and will be agreeing to consult upon with our Council of Members and Governing Body.
“A final decision hasn’t been made. We are currently working up options which will be assessed against a number of criteria which will include value for money, quality and access.
“The CCG faces considerable financial challenges ahead as costs and demand for services increase. We need to make sure that we get the very best value for every £1 we spend so we can continue to provide essential NHS services.
“Inevitably, this may lead to taking some brave decisions and choices to change services. Ultimately the CCG is committed to providing the right services for patients which fit both the current and future demand of our population.”