Doctors remind patients where to go and when as Rugby St Cross’s Urgent Care Unit is re-organised

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St Cross’s Urgent Care Unit switches to a nurse-led emergency service this month, and health bosses are urging people to be aware of what can and can’t be treated there.

St Cross’ Accident and Emergency service ceased being a formal A&E department years ago due to changes in how the NHS was structured. Rugby’s nearest A&E is now in Coventry, but Rugby’s St Cross still has a 24/7 emergency department than can treat many illnesses and injuries. The change was announced around two years ago after a lengthy public consultation.

Nationally, NHS bosses have blamed patient confusion for A&E departments becoming overcrowded this summer, with some people turning up to hospital with relatively minor ailments such as being unable to get their false nails off or being hung over.

Earlier this year James Davidson, the clinical lead for Rugby’s nearest A&E department, described in a leaked letter how the A&E service was in crisis, suffering “toxic-overcrowding” and frequently running “at the absolute margins of clinical safety”.

The latest guidelines advise patients to stay away from A&E unless it is a genuine life-threatening emergency. Examples include heart attacks, severe head traumas and strokes.

Rugby’s Minor Injuries Unit is suitable for injuries such as sprains or minor fractures, minor burns and scalds, bites and stings, minor head injuries, and minor eye or ear problems.

Meghana Pandit, chief medical officer for University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, said: “With a move to a fully nurse-led service at the Urgent Care Centre at St Cross being complete by the end of September, it is more important that people know where to go to get the right treatment.

“At all times we want to ensure that the care people receive is not only appropriate but safe.”

Jeff Cotterill, GP and clinical lead for NHS Coventry and Rugby CCG said: “The Urgent Care Centre at the Hospital of St Cross can deal with a range of urgent problems and GPs and pharmacies in Rugby provide a wide range of services to people that will deal with the vast majority of health issues, but when the symptoms suggest that the problem might be very serious or life threatening the expertise is available in Coventry.”

Health bosses are also urging people to make the best use of GPs and pharmacists. For example, pharmacists are the preferred point of contact for people wishing to quit smoking or lose weight, or who have a insect sting or common viral infection. Only when a pharmacist cannot help should an appointment with a GP be sought. Patients can also find advice by dialing 111. For further information visit uhcw.nhs.uk/stcross or coventryrugbyccg.nhs.uk.

St Cross or Coventry? Where to go:

In the case of life-threatening emergencies always dial 999 immediately.

Things like heart attacks, severe head traumas and other emergencies cannot be dealt with at St Cross but can be by specialists at UHCW, Coventry.

Rugby’s drop-in unit can treat sprains,minor fractures, burns and scolds, bites, stings and minor eye, ear and head injuries.