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New Minor Injuries Unit opens at Altnagelvin Hospital


New Minor Injuries Unit opens at Altnagelvin Hospital

This week sees the opening of a new Minor Injuries Unit at Altnagelvin Hospital, the Western Trust has confirmed.

With an average of 200 people per day attending the hospital’s Emergency Department, it is hoped that the new minors stream will be able to cater for around one in three attendances, relieving pressure on the main ED and allowing its Clinicians to focus on the most life-threatening injuries and ailments, providing a quicker turnaround and more comfortable environment for those with less urgent conditions.

The new unit, which opened on Monday, will be led by Emergency Nurse Practitioners and other nursing staff, with oversight from Clinicians from the main Emergency Department, and will be operational from 8.00am to 9.00pm each day.

Some of the most common injuries which can be treated in the new Minor Injuries Unit include:

  • Minor head injuries.
  • Facial injuries including foreign bodies in the eyes or nose.
  • Upper and lower limb injuries including fractures, dislocations, bruises and sprains.
  • Uncomplicated wounds.
  • Bites, burns and scalds.

The Minor Injuries stream will be a Phone First led service. The Phone First service is designed for patients, including children, who are feeling unwell and considering travelling to an Emergency Department or Minor Injury Unit with an injury that requires urgent treatment but is not immediately life threatening.

When you call the Phone First service your condition, or that of the person you are calling on behalf of, will be clinically assessed and arrangements made for you to access the most appropriate service to your needs. This will also include recommending a time to attend, helping minimise waiting times and allowing clinicians to provide the best levels of care for those attending.

The ‘Phone First’ number to ring is 0300 020 6000 while the ‘Phone First’ text relay number is 0870 240 5152. Phone First operates from 8.00am to midnight each day, including weekends and public holidays.

Commenting on her hopes for the new service, Western Trust Director of Unscheduled Care, Medicine, Cancer and Clinical Services, Geraldine McKay, said:

“It is well known that our Emergency Department at Altnagelvin Hospital, like all others in the region, has been under extreme pressure. Unfortunately this has resulted in lengthy delays for those attending with less serious medical conditions as our clinical staff have been busy dealing with the most life-threatening illnesses and injuries. This new Minor Injuries Unit will allow these people to attend, get treated, and discharged from the new unit in a more timely manner.

“This new unit has been planned for some time following significant investment as part of the No More Silos programme, and we are delighted to see it come into operation. My thanks go to all the staff across the organisation who have brought us to this point, and I know our new Minor Injuries stream will have a positive impact for those who need to avail of it.”

The creation of the new Minor Injuries Unit has been funded as part of the No More Silos project, which aims to reduce the volume of people visiting Emergency Departments by providing alternative pathways to treatment.

The opening of the new unit at Altnagelvin means that there are now separate Minor Injuries streams at all three of the Western Trust’s hospital sites, with Altnagelvin taking its place alongside existing services at South West Acute Hospital and at Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex.