THE Minor Injuries and Illness Unit (MIIU) at Dursley’s Vale Hospital is set to reopen in early October.

The unit has been closed since March after Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust made the move to ‘strengthen staffing at a smaller number of sites’ following the coronavirus outbreak.

A health scrutiny committee will meet next week to debate and vote on the proposals to reopen the unit from early October.

The proposals would see the MIIU open initially from 10am-6pm, with ongoing assessment to eventually reach normal hours (8am-8pm).

The increase in the number of specialist stroke rehabilitation beds at the Vale Hospital, from 14 to 20, is set to be maintained.

A report to the health scrutiny committee states: “We recognise that the conversion of the six beds at the Vale potentially reduces local access to local beds in the Berkley Vale area however beds at Stroud remain available to the whole locality and it should be noted that capacity has been available throughout the period of the original change.

Even with the extra stroke rehabilitation beds in Dursley there had still been a reduction of five in the total number available in Gloucestershire due to losses in Gloucester and Cheltenham.

Elsewhere in the county, Cheltenham’s A&E department will remain temporarily shut until next spring to prepare for a potential second spike in coronavirus cases.

Councillors gave the local hospital trust the thumbs up for its plans’ to keep Cheltenham General Hospital’s emergency department temporarily closed until the end of March 2021 at a meeting on Tuesday.

The town’s A&E was turned into a Minor Injury and Illness Unit (MIIU), operating 8am to 8pm seven days a week, initially for a period of three months in June.

Health bosses told councillors in a scrutiny meeting on Tuesday that the temporary change will make Cheltenham “a very safe hospital”  as demand is predicted to increase over Winter.

Under separate approved proposals, the opening hours at other units – Cirencester, Stroud, North Cotswold, and Lydney – will increase until 8pm in early October. But the MIIU at Dilke Memorial Hospital will remain closed.

By Leigh Boobyer