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‘My cut finger didn’t need Ninewells A&E’: Montrose health campaigner says new minor injuries setup has ‘fallen at first hurdle’

Montrose man Eddie Martin was sent to Ninewells A&E by NHS 24 after cutting his finger.
Montrose man Eddie Martin was sent to Ninewells A&E by NHS 24 after cutting his finger.

A Montrose OAP sent to Ninewells A&E with a cut finger says health chiefs have “fallen at the first hurdle” after the Angus town’s minor injuries unit was axed.

Eddie Martin sliced his finger in a Saturday tea-time incident.

The 75-year-old – a trained first aider for 35 years – is the chairman of Montrose Patient Participation Group.

Mr Martin thought he would be dealt with at Arbroath Minor Injuries Unit (MIU).

But instead he had to travel to Dundee because no doctor was available at Arbroath Infirmary.

It comes after NHS Tayside rejected fears Montrose folk with minor injuries would have to undertake a two-hour round trip to Ninewells.

NHS 24 say the pensioner was dealt with under a “robust” triage protocol.

Bleeding heavily

Eddie said: “It was around 5pm on a Saturday night in March and I cut the top of my finger on a chopping mandoline.

“It was bleeding quite badly and because it was my right hand I couldn’t dress it properly myself with my left.

“I phoned 111 and they said I needed to see a doctor.

“So I insisted on an appointment at Arbroath MIU.

Arbroath MIU
Angus patients could be seen at Arbroath MIU. Pic: Graham Brown/DCT Media.

“But they came back and said I had to go to Ninewells.

“I drove myself there with a kitchen towel wrapped around it.

“I didn’t need stitches.

“They put a swab on top, a pressure bandage and after 20 minutes to half an hour I was able to drive home again.

“The nurse who dealt with me at A&E even asked why I had to come to Ninewells.”

Temporary Covid closure made permanent

“Through the PPG I’ve been fighting the MIU situation for months, but it was just quietly closed down,” said Eddie.

The MIU at Links Health Centre was temporarily closed during Covid.

But it has now been shut for good and replaced by a new care and treatment service.

Mr Martin says he feels Montrose has lost out.

“From my own experience, I’d say they’ve fallen at the first hurdle,” he said.

“We were assured nobody would have to go to Ninewells A&E unless their injury was one that required it.

Montrose MIU at Links Health Centre has been axed. Pic: Google.

“I don’t think my injury was serious enough for A&E.

“If we still had an MIU at Montrose it’s the sort of thing that could have been safely dealt with there.

“They then by-passed Arbroath MIU because it was a staffing issue.

He added: “In recent years Montrose health services have been torn apart.

“When you look at Forfar and Arbroath, they have hospital beds, respite and MIU.

“What’s going to be next in Montrose, that’s what we’re asking.”

NHS response

NHS Tayside said: “This patient would never have been seen at Montrose MIU even when it was open as they were assessed by NHS24 as requiring A&E treatment so they would have gone to Ninewells even when the local MIU was open.”

And NHS 24 said: “NHS 24 is unable to comment on individual patient journeys due to our responsibilities to maintain confidentiality.

“Our 111 service has robust triage processes that direct callers to the most appropriate location for the care they need at the time of the call, based on the information the caller provides regarding the nature of their symptoms or injury.

“Feedback about our services and the care we provide to patients is very important to NHS 24 and we would encourage Mr Martin to contact our Patient Affairs Team by email at Patient.Experience@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk or by calling 0300 020 4846.”

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