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More backing for Stratford's MIU to return to full-time hours

COUNCILLORS from across the political spectrum are calling on South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust to open the minor injuries unit at Stratford Hospital seven days a week.

Health chiefs have announced that, from next month, the unit will open from 9am to 5pm each weekend but the doors will remain closed during the week due to staffing shortages. The matter was raised by Cllr Victoria Alcock (Lib Dem, Bishopton) at last Monday’s full council meeting of Stratford District Council.

She asked: “The NHS currently has major challenges, something I think we are all well aware of. The number of staff lost due to Brexit and the pandemic, and the backlog of treatment are all contributing to long waiting times.

Stratford Hospital (58067512)
Stratford Hospital (58067512)

“Currently, residents are having to travel to Warwick for X-rays and some treatments. With the extensive building work happening in the district, can I ask that all the avenues be explored to have this vital service open seven days a week to help the burden on Warwick A&E.”

Cllr Jo Barker (Con, Shipston South), the portfolio holder for homes, health and wellbeing, explained that she was on the board of the trust and would be pressing for the unit to open fully.

She said: “There is a huge need for it to open seven days a week but as you are aware we are still having struggles operating it because of staff shortages and that has been the problem throughout – but I will keep up the pressure.”

As reported two weeks ago by the Herald, the trust announced that the MIU would reopen on Saturday, 13th August but only at weekends as staff were needed at Warwick Hospital, which was the trust’s priority.

The announcement, issued by South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust and Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care Board, added: “The operating hours will be reviewed regularly and will be extended dependent on staffing levels.

“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 minor injuries unit wherever possible.

“South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust 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.”

The part-time opening hours of the MUI caused anger among some in Stratford.

Former mayor Cyril Bennis said: “It is totally unacceptable, it’s a smack in the face for the community. It’s a stop-gap. We want a proper service not a part-time service.”

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