When you or a loved one have had an accident or injury, the first thought might be to head off to an A&E department.
You might not give a thought to Oxfordshire’s highly skilled emergency practitioners at Oxford Health’s community hospitals.
It’s time to think again. Our staff treat thousands of people every month in minor injuries units (MIU) or first aid units (FAU) across the county. In fact, in the past year our teams have cared for 40,800 patients – tending to their wounds and patching them up.
MIUs are operate at three of the county’s community hospitals – at Abingdon, Witney and Henley. They have x-ray facilities and a range of specialists who can treat people for a range of injuries – from broken bones, severe sprains, deep cuts, eye injuries, minor head injuries and minor burns and scalds.
FAUs are at Bicester, Wallingford and Chipping Norton hospitals and offer the same multi-skilled teams without x-ray facilities.
Pete McGrane, Oxford Health Clinical Director for Community Services, said: “Our minor injuries units can help local people with a wide range of minor injuries, reducing the pressures on A&E and increasing your chances of being seen more quickly. Come in and see us, we’re here to help.
“A&Es are for emergencies; for those serious, potentially life-threatening cases; MIUs are often a much better option for sprained ankles, wounds, bites, eye injuries etc.
“When someone gets hurt they want to get medical help as soon as possible. Our MIU teams have all the training, skills and experience to help in most cases. They have the expertise to deal with complex needs and have x-ray too, so they can see if you’ve broken something or it’s a sprain.”
All Oxford Health’s MIUs operate an appointment system via the NHS 111 service. Callers are questioned about their injury over the phone and given an appointment at their nearest unit.
Appointments give people a much more accurate idea of an anticipated assessment time.
Walk in patients are seen, but those who have an appointment will be seen first unless there is a clinical need to tackle a more urgent case.
Feedback from patients is consistently high. Oxford Health uses the independent I Want Great Care website to monitor how our patients rate they way in which we look after them.
With a maximum potential score of 5, our units universally score near top marks with Abingdon at 4.9, Witney at 4.78 and Henley a near perfect 4.96 – all demonstrating a good service.
Use this guide to your nearest unit. Remember to call NHS 111 for an appointment.
MINOR INJURIES UNITS (with x-ray facilities)
Abingdon Community Hospital
Marcham Road, Abingdon, OX14 1AG. Tel: 01865 903476. Open seven days a week, 10am to 10.30pm. Directions here
York Road, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2EB. Tel: 01865 903755. Open seven days a week, 9am to 8pm. X-ray is closed on bank holidays and weekends. Directions here
Witney Community Hospital
Welch Way, Witney, OX28 6JJ. Tel: 01865 903841. Open seven days a week, 10am to 10.30pm. Directions here
FIRST AID UNITS
Bicester Community Hospital
Piggy Lane (access via Coker Close) Bicester OX26 6HT. Tel: 01865 903976. Monday-Friday 6pm to 11pm and 8.30am to 11pm at weekends and bank holidays. The First Aid Unit offers a walk-in service, so no referral or appointment required. Directions here
Chipping Norton War Memorial Community Hospital
Russell Way, off London Road, Chipping Norton OX7 5FA. Tel: 01865 903333 (Main Reception, 8.30am to 5pm) This service operated by South Central Ambulance Service and is open weekday evenings, 5pm to 9pm and 10am to 9pm at weekends and bank holidays.
This is a drop-in service and you do not need to make an appointment. Directions here
Wallingford Community Hospital
Reading Road, Wallingford, OX10 9DU. Tel: 01865 903471 (Please telephone prior to attending.) This service is open Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) 8.30am to 6.30pm. Directions here.
Advice before you go
TOP TIPS: If you have a minor injury (suspected break, sprain, wound, cut or eye injury), ring 111, give the call handler all the details they ask for and get an appointment at your nearest MIU or FAU. Or you can go online at 111.nhs.uk
EVERYBODY HURTS: If you are in pain due to an injury please take painkillers, like paracetamol, before you come in for assessment. It makes the assessment easier for everyone concerned. “It won’t mask your injury and it can help with your treatment as we will be able to move you more,” says Mr McGrane
FIRST AID FIRST: The NHS website has some useful tips and ideas on how to deal with sprains of strains that can include pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness around a joint or muscle. Recommendations include PRICE: protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation.