"I wasn't sure where to go"

About: NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

(as the patient),

Three days ago, I was in Glasgow's West End, bad weather, lots of wet leaves on public footpaths, and I slipped on a step, fell, and went over on my ankle. Very badly. I knew immediately that, at the very best, it was a serious sprain. I was in considerable pain, couldn't walk, and certainly couldn't drive myself anywhere, although I was parked nearby. Although I've lived in Glasgow most of my life, I suddenly realised that I had no idea what to do next.

As it happens, I'd left my phone at home and had no opportunity to 'google' where on earth I was supposed to go. I hauled myself up, hailed a taxi and asked the driver if he could take me to a minor injuries unit - not that I'd ever thought about what constituted a minor injury....do they have x-ray machines there? How would I know?

We were literally yards from the Western Infirmary, but the driver thought the MIU there had closed. It hadn't, but his confusion was understandable - it is due to close shortly and transfer to Yorkhill, or so Chinese whispers tell me - but don't quote me on that - NHS Glasgow's website has no information that I can easily find about the impending closure.

We were only a mile from Gartnaval, but A & E is long-closed there, of course; it was rush-hour and the driver thought it could take anything up to an hour to get through the Clyde Tunnel to the new super hospital. I knew anyway that if I went there I could be in A & E for several hours, and what I needed urgently was a comfortable place to elevate and put hot and cold compresses on an ankle that was getting more swollen and bruised by the minute.

The taxi driver took me home. I self-administered, but had no idea at that stage whether I'd broken anything. I still don't, but the swelling has gone down, I've strapped it up and, a couple of days later, I am able to hobble around the house. Is this the future of the NHS? Feels more like the Dark Ages to me.

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Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Thank you very much for getting in touch, and I am sorry that I haven't responded to you before now. You have highlighted very clearly one of the main challenges that, I would imagine, most health boards face and that is educating people about what services there are out there, and when they should be used. The majority of people don't really think about healthcare services until they actually need them, and when they need them it is usually when they are feeling poorly or have injured themselves, as you did, and so are probably feeling quite anxious. The services that people are most familiar with are their GP and local Emergency Departments, and so these can often be the first port of call, even if there are other services better suited, like for example the Minor Injuries Unit, as in your case.

There are a number of resources out there to try to raise awareness of the options available, for example the Know Who To Turn To campaign (http://www.nhsggc.org.uk/patients-and-visitors/know-who-to-turn-to/) and we have created leaflets and information films specifically about Minor Injuries Units to let people know about this as an alternative option to A&E when they have an injury which needs treated, but isn't an emergency.

We also know that a lot of people do rely on the internet for information, and so it is important that our website is as easy to use and clear as possible. I know that one of the issues was that you couldn't access the internet at the time, but I take on board your point about information on the services that will be available at the old Yorkhill site not being clearly available on the site. I will raise this point with our Communications team for them to review. Currently however, there is still a Minor Injuries Unit at the Western Infirmary and our website does make that clear, and will do until the point that moves to the old Yorkhill site. Any changes will then also be made clear on the website.

I know that there has been a delay in my response to you, and again, apologies for that, but I hope that your ankle is now much better, or that you have sought some medical advice on it. I appreciate you getting in touch and will pass along your comments to see what we can do to improve the information we are providing.

Best Wishes,


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