A report from the independent organisation Healthwatch Oxfordshire summed up the experience of people using our minor injuries units (MIUs) as ‘Friendly staff, short waiting times, good experience, easy to get to.’

MIU_comment1The report found that the most people were very satisfied with the services provided to them. One person explained how staff took care to include children and young people in the conversation when dealing with them, rather than just talking to the parent.

Of the 62 people surveyed in the report, 40 had used one of our MIUs before: their comments ranged from ‘excellent previous experience’, ‘this place is very high in my estimation, superb service’ and that using the MIU was ‘always a good experience’.

Carol Moore, Executive Director, Healthwatch Oxfordshire, said: “Minor Injuries Units appear to be providing an excellent service in the county, and are playing an important role in easing pressure on other areas of the health service, such as GP surgeries and Accident & Emergency Departments.”

The report also highlighted areas for improvement, which mirror the areas the trust has already identified and is working on.

A major issue that was highlighted was better signposting of MIU services, and we are working with the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to increase awareness of the MIUs and the services they offer. The CCG is running a number of campaigns to ensure that patients get the right treatment and health advice quickly and effectively.

In the meantime, we are using social media to receive and respond to feedback about our MIU services, and over the next month we will also explore opportunities to introduce a regular article into local newspapers across the county to better promote MIU opening times (including x-ray service opening times), locations and the service provided.

We will also look at our assessment processes so that staff can better identify people needing an X-ray at an earlier stage, and work to improve communication processes between our staff and radiography units in each MIU.

Waiting times at our minor injuries units are amongst the challenging issues, and our senior clinical team and the Head of Service monitor the waiting time frequently every day, moving staff around the units to support and manage demand. We have also carried out a forecasting analysis, leading to a change in staffing levels at different times, and where possible, we live tweet about waiting times by unit. We also normally advise patients when they first attend about their expected waiting time, and we are committed to working further on this issue.

We will also be making improvements to the waiting areas in our minor injuries unit: over the next six months, we will be putting in a TV in the Witney MIU waiting area, and we will be working with the landlord at the Henley MIU to find ways to improve the waiting environment.  This MIU already hands out bottled water while we work with the landlord to find a better resolution.

We will be sharing the findings of the review with all staff working in the minor injuries unit by the end of July 2016, and discuss ways of improving our services still further.

In the meantime, you can find out the latest updates from our MIUs on their Facebook page and via their twitter account.