More patients than expected

WHAT a difference of opinions on the closure of the A&E department.

First we have the paramedic, working on the front line and telling of the chaos they have to contend with (Mail, August 4).

Then we have the members of the trust telling us how pleased they are with how things went so smoothly.

Then we have Julie Gillon, director of operations and performance (whatever that means) at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, saying “our staff in the minor injuries area of the urgent care centre are seeing more patients than we expected”.

According to figures published by local health chiefs, 380 people attended the minor injuries unit.

Now according to previous figures, the old A&E saw 40,000 patients a year, or on average more than 750 per week.

This is almost twice as many as the new unit dealt with and yet she says “they were surprised by how many turned up”.

Did she think that with the closure of the A&E that people would stop becoming ill or having accidents?

Perhaps the Hartlepool Mail could dedicate a weekly column to patients of the new urgent care centre giving their opinions and views on how they were treated.

Perhaps also, while promising anonymity, we might hear from more front-line, local health professionals.

With the closure of the A&E department at the University Hospital of Hartlepool there is now a great possibility in my book that a large scale public event like the tall ships will now not be allowed, on health and safety grounds, due to the lack of available accident and emergency cover in the town (sorry Mr Allan, but the minor injuries unit doesn’t count).

I wonder if the Mayor and Hartlepool Borough Council had considered the possibility of losing their pet project or any other project in the future due to this.

Mike Hanley,

Wethers Nook,

Hartlepool.