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  1. ITV Report

Stafford's Children's Minor Injuries Unit to close

A hospital trust in the Midlands has confirmed that it will close a minor injuries unit set up to treat children in Stafford after the Children's A&E was closed over staffing concerns.

University Hospitals North Midlands (UHNM), which runs County Hospital in Stafford and The Royal Stoke Hospital said it will be replaced by an Urgent Care Centre within the A&E department at County Hospital in the Autumn.

In August 2016, a sudden announcement saw the Children's Emergency Centre at County Hospital in Stafford close immediately.

In October 2016, the Children's Minor Injuries Unit opened to treat fractures, cuts and similar wounds in under 16s. All children requiring more specialist care were then treated in Stoke-on-Trent.

In April 2017, following a report into the closure of the Children's Emergency Centre, University Hospital North Midlands announced the Children's Emergency Centre at County Hospital would not reopen but said the Minor Injuries Unit would continue.

Credit: ITV News Central

The Hospital Trust has confirmed, in line with recommendations in a report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, it will close the Minor Injuries Unit at Stafford. It says it cannot keep it open indefinitely and it was only ever a temporary measure, despite the unit now being open for 20 months.

A spokesperson for University Hospitals of North Midlands said:

The Children’s Minor Injury Unit at County Hospital was always intended as a temporary measure until the CCG implemented a GP led service within A&E which would treat both adults and children’s minor illnesses and injuries.

This new Urgent Care Model is in line with the recommendations of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health following a review of Children’s Urgent and Emergency services in 2016.

The timescales for this new GP led service have been far longer than anticipated due to difficulties in identifying a suitable provider so the temporary MIU has now been in place for 20 months.

UHNM wrote to the CCG a few months ago to say that we cannot continue to provide the service indefinitely and they have recently confirmed that they are in the process of re-tendering the service and plan to have this new model in place by Autumn this year.

Clearly we would all prefer a smooth transition from one service to the next and subject to satisfactory progress this is what we are all aiming for.

– Spokesperson for University Hospitals of North Midlands
Credit: ITV News Central

A spokesperson for the Staffordshire CCGs

“The CCGs are making good progress in retendering the service and are concentrating on it being a workable model for clinicians as well as providing safe and positive services for patients.”

– Spokesperson for the Staffordshire CCGs

Campaigners who have actively tried to preserve services at County Hospital since it was renamed following the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust Scandal said there were concerns the children's services left at County Hospital could be removed by 31st July.

The hospital trust have now confirmed that the Children's Minor Injuries Unit will close when a new Urgent Care Centre opens within A&E at Stafford Hospital, which is expected to be Autumn 2018.