Patient safety could be at risk at two north-east clinics due to low patient numbers – and urgent action is needed to address it, a board has ruled.
Aberdeenshire has nine minor injury clinics offering round-the-clock care to the region’s residents, but fears have been expressed that not enough people are turning up.
An Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership report said this could lead to staff not getting enough practice to keep their skills sharp.
The nine units are at Aboyne Hospital, Chalmers Hospital in Banff, Fraserburgh Hospital, Insch War Memorial Hospital, Inverurie Hospital, Jubilee Hospital in Huntly, Kincardine Community Hospital in Stonehaven, Peterhead Community Hospital and Turriff Hospital.
In August, 1,203 people went to the Peterhead unit, whereas 27 went to Insch and 10 to Inverurie – though only out-of-hours and weekend visits were counted for Inverurie.
At a meeting yesterday Aberdeenshire Integration Joint Board opted to introduce a range of measures to address the problem.
The board backed a steering group’s recommendation which said: “The activity levels within the units in Insch and Inverurie do give rise to potential patient safety and staff governance risk, particularly in the out-of-hours period.
“The steering group would recommend that, as a matter of urgency, the board approves the redesign of these two units.”
The board also decided to establish a project group to come up with a plan to redesign the nine units, where needed, and report back to the board at appropriate intervals.
A total of 4,538 people took part in a consultation on the future structure of the units earlier this year, including 1,000 who attended nine consultation events.
At yesterday’s meeting, the board’s chairwoman, Councillor Anne Stirling, said: “The contribution to the consultation from members of the public and staff has been absolutely valuable.
“I appreciate very much the work that has been done by the steering group and the report authors to get us to this point.
“There have obviously been some issues that have been picked up.
“I think staff at the units have got an appetite to make positive changes and to progress.”