PLANS to get the doors at Solihull Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) open once more are under way.
The unit closed its doors in May 2020 after University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) decided Solihull Hospital would be a Covid-free site so elective surgery could continue during the pandemic.
But campaigners, inc-luding Solihull Council’s deputy leader and chair of Solihull Health and Wellbeing Board, Councillor Karen Grinsell, said the closure lead to extra pressures on GP surgeries and left residents having to travel further.
UHB, which oversees the running of the site, said its preferred current option “is to re-provide an MIU and Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) on the Solihull Hospital site” in documents ahead of Thursday’s Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee at Solihull Council.
A spokesperson for NHS Birmingham and Solihull said: “We recognise the strength of feeling which has been raised by Solihull residents and elected members, including the petition brought forward by the chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board regarding the restoration of urgent care services in the area and we are working closely with our partners to providing a service that better meets people’s needs.
“Proposals are being presented to the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on October 13 and November 9 regarding the Solihull MIU and UTC, after which we will work with partners to establish and agree a way forward.”
Last year Coun Grinsell launched a petition calling on NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to bring back the unit. In April she handed the petition with 8,000 signatures to Solihull Council but the numbers keep rising.
She said: “Our 11,000-signature petition (which is still live) demonstrated the real strength of feeling in our community and the return of this important facility, especially with a borough of more than 220,000 residents.
“I won’t rest until we actually see the doors to the MIU open and services resumed, hopefully that can be within the next six months. It will help alleviate pressure on our GPs and West Midlands Ambulance Service.
“We welcome further plans that have also been submitted to the council for additional permanent theatre space which will secure the future of our hospital for years to come.”
The final details are yet to be revealed but a further updated is expected at the Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny meeting on the November 9.
Solihull MP, Julian Knight, said: “During the pandemic I completely accepted the reasons why temporary changes at Solihull Hospital were necessary, however, the situation has now changed and I support the calls from residents for the NHS to re-provide a MIU and UTC at Solihull Hospital.
“I am pleased that University Hospitals Trust now recognise the strength of feeling amongst the Solihull community and I look forward to seeing these services re-installed promptly.”