Driffield Town Council, in partnership with the Driffield & Wolds Weekly, launched the coupon campaign in March when it came to light that East Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had proposed a possible closure of Driffield’s MIU, along with those at Hornsea and Withernsea, as part of its review of urgent care packages.
The East Riding CCG, which is responsible for deciding how health care is delivered across the region, had cited the reasons for the proposed closure were due to the service at the town’s Alfred Bean Hospital being underused and understaffed.
Driffield Town Council has now printed 16,000 campaign coupons that will be posted to every house in Driffield and villages in the YO25 area via the Royal Mail from Monday.
Town clerk Claire Binnington said: “Driffield Town Council wishes to clearly illustrate the impact that the closure of the MIU would have on our community, not just in Driffield but the whole YO25 area that the MIU serves. We also want to show what impact the closure would have on already over stretched services at the A&E departments.
“If you have already completed a coupon then it is legitimate to ask another member of your household to complete one, if you haven’t then this is your chance to let your voice be heard.”
Every coupon returned will be analysed and each response will form a consolidated and statistical report that will be presented to the CCG during the consultation, which is expected to commence in October for a period of 12 weeks.
So far the nature of the consultation and what form it will take are unknown. Since the campaign was launched, 1,357 coupons had been returned up to the beginning of June and these have all been analysed by DTC Councillor Cath Scarlett.
Of those, 586 people had concerns about the distance or time taken to travel to an alternative and 258 people had problems with transport being available to get them to another centre.
The need for an MIU in a growing town such as Driffield was mentioned by 233 respondents and 660 people described the service as being essential, vital, important or needed and was an important part of our community.
Interestingly, 344 people mentioned alternative places that they would have to go if Driffield MIU was closed, of those 249 (72%) said they would go to Hull or Scarborough A&Es and only 28 (8%) said they would go to Bridlington or Beverley MIUs.
Cllr Scarlett said: “There is a great deal of concern in Driffield and the surrounding villages about the impact that the closure of the minor injuries unit in the town would have, especially on vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, disabled people and people with young children.
“There are major concerns about much greater distances to travel to treat minor injuries, with many vulnerable groups not having access to cars and public transport provision being sparse meaning they would have to call an ambulance, putting extra strain on the ambulance service.
“There are also major concerns about the effect on A&E services at the two major hospitals in the area, especially as both of these hospitals are already failing to meet A&E targets.”
Residents are urged to return their completed coupons to one of the many drop off points that will be displaying the poster, probably your local shop where you purchase your Driffield & Wolds Weekly.
Mrs Binnington added: “This proposed closure is yet further erosion of our rapidly depleting rural services and it is imperative that we all join forces to try to stop it and at the very least fight to have an emergency care centre located centrally within the CCG’s area, which would be in Driffield.