New emergency unit providing vital service
Praise has been given for a new emergency unit in Witney which enables patients to be treated closer to home, helping to ease pressure at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.
West Oxfordshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Cllr Mark Booty, visited the Emergency Multidisciplinary Unit on Wednesday (19 February) and described its role as being “vital” to Witney and the surrounding rural locality.
Run by Oxford Health NHS Trust, the Unit provides 24/7 care at the site of Witney Community Hospital, in Welch Way, and includes an assessment centre with five beds, physiotherapy room, isolation room and kitchen.
Patients are referred to the Unit by GPs or healthcare professionals and are given a full assessment, diagnosis and treatment.
Staff can treat many medical conditions, except for heart attacks, strokes and those requiring theatre. On-going care and support is given to help them through their illness without the need for admission to an acute hospital and the Unit has access to beds in the hospital’s wards, if needed.
An ambulance is available to transfer emergency cases that cannot be treated to the John Radcliffe.
Samantha Band, Clinical Lead at the Unit said: “The Unit helps people stay closer to home and the relaxing atmosphere of the small unit makes it less stressful for patients. The fact that we are local also means it’s more convenient for people to come back to us for any follow up care and treatment.
“Everyone involved in setting up the unit has been very motivated. One of the best things we offer is our holistic assessments. We can look at the patient as a whole and treat them accordingly with our range of health care professionals, from doctors and nurses, to physio, occupational therapy and social care - which means they can get back to their own home environment and start recovery quicker.”
So far, around 130 patients have been treated at the Unit with a range of care needs, from chest infections to cellulitis.
West Oxfordshire District Council has a responsibility to represent the District on community and public health issues and are involved with West Oxfordshire Locality Group (WOLG), who themselves are part of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for purchasing health services for the county.
Cllr Booty said: “It is fantastic to see this Unit up and running in Witney. In a rural District like ours, which has an increasing ageing population, this will provide a vital service to our local community.
“It is invaluable for patients to be treated closer to home and to their families, with the additional benefit of helping to relieve the pressure at our closest acute treatment hospital – it is a win, win situation for all involved.
“Our Council very much welcomes the Unit and will continue to work with our partner agencies in the health service to ensure that West Oxfordshire continues to be well represented.”
The Unit fully opened in January and is the second of its kind in Oxfordshire – the other is located at Abingdon Community Hospital – and has been funded as part of an £18m investment in Oxfordshire by the Department of Health and the National Institute for Health research.
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