Extended opening hours for Ely hospital in bid to ease pressure on A&E departments

Princess of Wales Hospital, Ely

Princess of Wales Hospital, Ely - Credit: Archant

The minor injuries unit at Ely’s Princess of Wales Hospital is to extend its opening hours in a bid to relieve the pressure on Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

From today (Monday), the unit, which offers a walk-in service, will be open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday, with no appointment needed.

The move comes just a week after Addenbrooke’s, in Cambridge, declared a major incident after its accident and emergency department was overrun with patients – causing lengthy delays.

The Isle of Ely Local Commissioning Group and Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which manage the Princess of Wales, say they have extended the opening times during winter to help alleviate the unprecedented pressures at Addenbrooke’s.

The renewed opening hours will be reviewed on a regular basis.

Judy Dance, from Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, said: “Although A&E is for life threatening emergencies, some people from Ely with a minor injury might have felt they had no alternative but to go to hospital at Huntingdon or Cambridge outside normal opening times.

“By extending these we are offering local people another alternative to A&E hospital services.”

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Dr John Jones, chairman of Isle of Ely Commissioning Group, said: “It is important that the public choose the right NHS service for their health needs, when they are ill or injured.

“Extending the opening hours of the minor injuries unit will give the public more access to urgent care services in Ely. This can help people to receive quicker treatment and save A&E for emergencies.”

Experienced and highly trained nurses and paramedics at the minor injuries unit will treat a wide range of problems that do not need a visit to A&E, including:

Wounds – cuts and bruises (tetanus immunisation can also be given)

Bites – human, insect and animal

Minor burns and scalds

Muscle and joint injuries – strains, sprains, limb fractures

Sports injuries

Emergency contraception

Eye problems eg. removal of foreign bodies, conjunctivitis

Earache (patients aged two years and over)

Cystitis (not children or males patients)

Minor head injuries (with no loss of consciousness).