MP challenges report into fracture clinic move

Julie Cooper MP
Julie Cooper MP

Burnley’s MP Julie Cooper, fighting to save Burnley General Hospital’s Fracture Clinic, says her own experience of the service at the Royal Blackburn Hospital was mixed.

The MP was responding to the publication of a report by independent watchdog Healthwatch Lancashire, which presented a largely positive portrayal of the Blackburn Fracture Clinic.

It seems likely that delays such as this are symptomatic of a clinic which is oversubscribed

MP

The Burnley Express revealed in August that East Lancashire NHS Hospitals Trust had decided to move Burnley’s clinic to Blackburn on a “six month trial.”

Healthwatch Lancashire’s programme of Enter and View gathers views of patients, relatives and staff.

All the patients surveyed (16) felt their appointment time and date was convenient, and 81% of patients (13) felt that the location of the clinic was convenient.

Mrs Cooper, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, said the survey included just two patients from Burnley.

She added: “Having read the report provided by Healthwatch relating to its visit to the Fracture Clinic at Blackburn hospital, I note that there are many positives.

“However it is essential that it is understood in the context of the following: firstly, the patient sample was very small, consisting of only 16 patients and of these, only two were from Burnley.

“In addition, several patients are quoted complaining about their long wait. This backs up my own recent experience where I was moved from the large waiting room to a small waiting room without any explanation for over an hour.

“It seems likely that delays such as this are symptomatic of a clinic which is oversubscribed.

“Most crucially perhaps, is the fact that 19% of patients said that the location was not convenient and they would prefer to have been seen at Burnley General Hospital.

“This may not seem like a large percentage, but equates to three patients out of the 16 sampled, presumably including the two from Burnley.

“Had all the patients been from Burnley, I have no doubt that the figure would have been 100% and base this on the hundreds of Burnley residents who have signed my ‘Save Our Fracture Clinic’ petition over the last few months.”

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has responded to the report and has now put an action plan of improvements in place as a result of the findings.

The action plan focuses on better communication between staff and patients, lack of refreshment facilities and waiting time information.

Helen Ritchie, Senior Patient Experience Facilitator for the Trust, said: “We have shared the comments with the Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic team and they have developed an action plan.”

Healthwatch Lancashire chief executive Gill Brown said: “It is pleasing to see that as a result of Healthwatch Lancashire’s visit to Royal Blackburn Hospital the Trust now has a plan to make improvements to those areas we highlighted.

“Healthwatch Lancashire will monitor progress with these improvements by revisiting the hospital in the near future.”