PLANS to shut the minor injuries unit at Cannock Hospital would be a "hammer blow" for the area, the local MP has said.
The proposal comes in the wake of the shake-up of hospital services in central Staffordshire, after special administrators were called in to run the troubled Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
Cannock Chase Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has announced proposals to "decommission" the minor injuries unit.
The CCG plans to develop an urgent care centre in Canock instead, but Cannock Chase MP Aiden Burley said there were no details available yet about what services it would provide.
And he claimed that patients would be left with poor provision for minor illnesses in the evenings after GP surgeries closed - and no local provision for minor injuries after 10pm, when Stafford Hospital's A&E closed for the night
“The likely loss of the minor injuries unit at Cannock Hospital would be a hammer blow to the local community," Mr Burley said.
"None of us fought so hard for three long years to save Cannock Hospital from the administrators' axe, only to see the minor injuries unit then axed from within by the Clinical Commissioning Group just months later.
“These proposals would seriously disadvantage my constituents.
"The MIU is open from 8am to midnight and is very well regarded by local people. It needs to be kept and improved, with an X-ray machine added, not cut completely.
“Going forward I understand that it is the intention of the CCG to develop an Urgent Care Centre in Cannock - a move I would welcome, however there are as yet no further details about what this would look like and what services would be provided.
"The CCG need to give assurances that there will be no gap in provision, particularly given that the new Urgent Care Centre in Wolverhampton is not yet set up.
“The CCG need to explain the reasoning behind these proposals, and how other parts of the primary care system will pick up the slack if they close the MIU. For example, the CCG says that 40 per cent of the activity undertaken by the MIU is for illness, not injury, and therefore should be dealt with by local GPs – but have they told the GPs that?
"What extra support will be given to GPs to help them cope with this sudden surge of extra demand? Will more GPs be employed to meet local primary care needs? The CCG must also give assurances about their plans to deliver an improved out of hours service.”