YOU printed a letter last week urging the incorporation of a minor injuries unit (MIU) within the new East Lothian Community Hospital on the grounds of increased housing and associated population growth.

This alone would be reason enough to warrant a MIU. However, taking into account the fact the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Accident and Emergency (A&E) department patently cannot cope with current demand and has not hit the Scottish Government four-hour target for A&E waiting times in months, there can be no excuse for failing to provide East Lothian with a MIU.

Last Tuesday I spent in excess of 10 hours in cubicle 18 of the A&E department at the ERI with my husband. An all-too-familiar story with a difference: he is terminally ill.

After eight hours he turned to me and asked: “Do I really deserve this?”

Normally the most stoical sufferer, his words have resounded in my head ever since and I feel compelled to tell his story.

My husband has a very complex medical history. He had a double lung transplant in Newcastle in 2010 and in recent years he has had a number of serious complications relating to this, necessitating multiple visits to A&E at the ERI.

Therefore we are no strangers to the high-pressured atmosphere which exists there minute by minute, hour by hour. Our expectations are based on previous experience and are realistic.

He didn’t spend 10 hours waiting for sophisticated treatment or transfer to Newcastle; he was triaged and required transferred to a hospital a few miles away for antibiotics. An urgent ‘one-hour’ ambulance was requested which took three hours to arrive. After 10 hours, having received no treatment, he was transferred to the Western General Hospital.

During his time in A&E there were particularly busy spells when attempts were made to move my husband from cubicle to corridor. The same health board provides him with IV infusions every three weeks in hospital to try and reduce recurrent infections; moving him into a corridor beside infective patients when he is immunocompromised contradicts the logic behind this treatment.

Treating simpler cases locally in a MIU, thus reducing the number of patients reaching Scotland’s busiest A&E department, would help to prevent situations like the one my husband endured. The service my husband received failed to deliver on both moral and medical grounds.

It’s not even flu season. Something has to change – without delay.

Fiona B Imrie

Rhodes Holdings

North Berwick