THE MINOR Injuries Unit at Stratford Hospital is set to re-open in August after months of uncertainty over its future.
The MIU was temporary closed by South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) 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 unit 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.
But it has now been confirmed the unit will reopen in August – although it will only open initially at weekends.
The Minor Injuries Unit is planned to open on Saturday August 13 in a “phased approach” with the service available initially on Saturdays and Sundays between 9am and 5pm.
The operating hours will be reviewed regularly and will be extended dependant on staffing levels.
A SWFT spokesperson told the Observer: “Maintaining the level of staff needed to run the main emergency site in south Warwickshire at Warwick Hospital is a key priority and this could occasionally impact on the delivery of the minor injuries service, although we will always endeavour to mitigate the risk to the MIU wherever possible”.
Former Stratford mayor Cyril Bennis, who has been campaigning for the re-opening of the unit, told the Observer the decision to only open the MIU at weekends for now was a “slap in the face for our community”.
He continued: “We have been campaigning to get a proper service and we are offered weekends. It is going to be very confusing, not knowing what time it will be open. We will be in the hands of South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust who will be reviewing the service and what happens if it is not used? Will they close it again? There is no guarantee what will or will not happen.
“We will continue to fight for a proper service. I would rather they had held back and got us a proper service rather than this”.
SWFT is running a number of recruitment drives and staff development programmes to support the current staffing challenges that are being felt across the NHS nationally.