The Minor Injuries Clinic will mark a major milestone this week when it celebrates its 20th anniversary. The unit, which was the first in Scotland, opened at the Western General Hospital in 1994.
It broke new ground when it was launched by becoming the first nurse-led unit of its kind. Now 20 years on, the unit continues to be one of NHS Lothian’s flagship services and treats around 25,000 people every year for a variety of aches, pains, cuts and sprains.
Fiona Churchill, lead nurse practitioner, NHS Lothian, said the unit was a one-stop shop for patients and provided a crucial alternative to busy Emergency departments which were dealing with life-threatening injuries.
She said the unit has ensured that patients are treated at the right time, by the right people in the right place.
She added: “We are delighted to be celebrating our 20th anniversary. The minor injuries clinic was pioneering when it was created and over the years it has continued to be at the forefront of quality care.”
The service has grown and evolved over the last two decades and paramedic practitioners and a physiotherapy practitioner are now attached to the unit.
One of the other major changes has been that all staff are, or are working towards becoming independent prescribers, which has helped enhance the patients’ journey and help the unit become the one-stop shop it was designed to be.
The number of patients attending the clinic has more then doubled since it was launched in 1994 because of its prompt and expert care.
It is estimated that on average 60 adults and children now attend the clinic every day – around 25,000 every year – for a range of injuries, especially to their ankle or wrist and for burns, cuts and sprains.
The clinic will continue to evolve and will soon move into a specially-designed unit on the same site as part of the work to re-design the Western General Hospital site to make it more effective and improve patient flow.
It will continue to be a walk-in service, so no appointment is required for treatment from a range of staff, including nurse, physiotherapy and paramedic practitioners.
Over the years, opening hours have been extended to make the clinic more accessible and in line with patients’ needs, meaning that it is now open every day of the year from 8am to 9pm, with last book in at 8.30 pm.
That seems incredible – can it really be that the Western General Action Group campaign was over twenty years ago?