CONTENTIOUS plans to initially only run Stratford Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) on weekends when it reopens have taken a U-turn – of sorts.
The unit will still only be open on two days when it welcomes patients back through its doors on August 16 – but those two days will be Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Last month South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) announced that the MIU was reopening in August following much uncertainty over its future.
But there was still some concern from campaigners that plans to open the unit at weekends only would cause confusion over when it was open.
Now SWFT has said in a statement that it will not be opening at weekends “at this current time” but instead on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
These days, the Trust explained, are extremely busy over at Warwick Hospital with patients seeking walk-in treatments.
And it is hoped having an alternative service open in Stratford for these two weekdays will help alleviate the pressure.
The MIU was temporary closed in April 2020 as staff were redeployed elsewhere to help deal with the pandemic. There were worries among residents at the time that the prolonged closure could signal the end for the unit.
And the scheduled reopening of the MIU was put off a number of times leading residents to fear the worst.
The unit was originally due to reopen towards the end of 2021 but due to “expected winter pressures” from the pandemic, SWFT put the re-opening back to 2022.
It was then announced the unit would reopen in the summer but SWFT was unable to put an exact date on it, leading to renewed concern.
At the beginning of July it was confirmed the unit would reopen in August – although it would only open initially at weekends.
Now in a new twist, the MIU will be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 9am to 5pm, with a plan in the pipeline to hopefully extend the opening days to include Mondays from late September.
SWFT said in a statement: “The reason for this change is to ensure we are responding to demand effectively. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are extremely busy with high numbers of patients seeking walk-in treatment services at the Emergency Department at Warwick Hospital. Therefore providing this alternative service in Stratford should alleviate pressure at our main urgent care site and ensure those services are available for the people that need them most.
“Operating during the week also means that the Minor Injuries Unit will be able to offer the same level of Radiology services which were previously available,” the statement added.
Last month former mayor Cyril Bennis told the Observer, the decision by SWFT to open the MIU at weekends would cause confusion among the local community about which days the unit was actually open.
He said he would rather SWFT had held back and and “got us a proper service rather than offer this.”
SWFT said the operating hours for the MIU will continue to be reviewed regularly.