Doctor: ‘Urgent Care Centre is very unsafe’

Date published: 01 July 2011

A doctor working at the Urgent Care Centre at Rochdale Infirmary has slammed the lack of plans in the place for the centre, describing it as a “disaster.”

The centre, which opened in April, is there to treat patients for minor injuries and aliments. It opened following the closure of the A&E department - patients with serious injuries in need of A&E now have to attend hospitals in neighbouring towns.

The doctor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the service is “very unsafe.”

“There is no proper staffing, no plan in place; it is very unsafe to run services.

“Nobody knows how it is going to work. It is falling apart.

“Since the 4 April we have seen over 12,000 patients. The Trust said we would see 85 per cent of existing patients, which is true, but staffing wise it is inappropriate, staffing levels are minimal to deal with the patients.

“They are just waiting for a disaster.

“There have already been so many mishaps.”

The doctor continued: “It is such a worry to staff. It is not satisfying professionally.

“We told them this was going to happen but nobody is listening.

“How can you expect people to know whether to go to their GP, A&E or the Urgent Care Centre? People are still coming to the door.

“It looks like we are working in a third world country.

“It is very disheartening.

“I have gone through all the different phases at this hospital and I have never ever seen anything like this. This hospital was 3 star rated, when only a few hospitals in a country were, it was financially in surplus and ever since it joined Pennine Acute the rating has gone and it is in debt.

“I have read statements from them in the media and they are all lies.”

The doctor also spoke of his concerns about over-crowding in Oldham, transport issues, and the worries of patients.

“I can’t see any improvement.

“All these things when they add up put everyone at risk.”

Hospital campaigner, Councillor Jean Ashworth said: “It proves everything we have said all along.

“Everyone has been saying how unsafe we have been left.

“They have got to listen.

“They have got to take politics out and listen to people and look at the suffering that is going on.

“The staff are being left in such a dreadful state, it is unreal. Something serious needs to be done.

“We can’t carry on like this, leaving this borough so unsafe.

“An urgent review needs to seriously be considered and put this town back in a safe place.”

Dr Anton Sinniah, Clinical Director, Unscheduled Care, at Rochdale Infirmary, said: “We have not had any concerns brought to our attention from doctors working within the Urgent Care Centre and there is a dedicated governance structure in place which meets weekly to monitor patient safety.

“Without further details and evidence it is difficult to give such allegations credibility or investigate further.”

A spokesman for The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Rochdale Infirmary, added: “The safety of patients is our top priority.

“Doctors and nursing staff have a professional responsibility to raise and report any concerns about unsafe practice.

“The Trust has arrangements in place so that any member of staff can report matters of concern by name or anonymously. No concerns have been reported about the safety of services provided within the Urgent Care Centre.

“This allegation is unfounded and unsubstantiated, and we reject any inference that our services are unsafe.”

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