DOCTORS have been pulled from Solihull’s Minor Injury Unit at night, leaving the department staffed by nurses.
The 24-hour unit at Solihull Hospital, where minor illnesses and injuries such as cuts or sprains are treated, no longer has a doctor between midnight and 7.30am.
Hospital bosses say the decision was reached as so few people use the service overnight on Lode Lane, and that the move brings them in line with national guidelines, which sees the units staffed by emergency nurse practitioners.
This is the latest blow to hospital services in the Solihull.
Hospital bosses admitted in 2013 that, despite the signage saying so, there has not been a full and proper A&E at Solihull for many years – with A&E services dwindling bit by bit over the past two decades.
Last October, the long-awaited Urgent Care Centre opened its doors and brought together all urgent care services under one roof within the hospital, to continue to provide a robust urgent primary care service, as well as a booked primary care service with strong links with NHS 111.
The Urgent Primary Care service provides an urgent ‘see and treat’ service for patients with minor illnesses and injuries, which will provide treatment for those without a prior booked appointment.
The Booked Primary Care service is for patients who have had an appointment booked for them, either via 111, their GP out-of- hours service or in some instances at the Urgent Primary Care service.
The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT), which runs Solihull, Good Hope and Heartlands Hospital claims less than ten people use the service most nights.
A spokesman from HEFT told the Observer: “The Minor Injury Unit at Solihull Hospital will continue to provide a 24-hour service, to the residents of Solihull and surrounding areas.
“We are aligning the staffing model at the Minor Injuries Unit with the national model, which is a service delivered by emergency nurse practitioners. This is due to the very low numbers of patients seen at night by the service.
“There is an average of seven patients attending the service between midnight and 7.30am. “
During the day the unit will be staffed by both doctors and nurses.
The hospital’s Urgent Care Centre – which is based in the same building on Lode Lane – will also remain open.
NHS England says the unit runs alongside GP and emergency care services and is predominately staffed by nurses, although some also provide doctors.
It says the service is not designed to treat life-threatening or long-term conditions.
Solihull Hospital will review the decision to remove overnight doctors next year.