QUESTION marks still remain over the reopening of an East Lancashire rehab unit - more than a year after it was shut for public safety reasons.

Ward Two at Accrington Victoria Hospital was originally closed because of a faulty boiler back in November 2018.

Later engineers also found asbestos - though this was said to pose no risk to staff or patients.

The 18-bed unit, for female patients, has not reopened since and no date has yet been given for the ward's reinstatement.

But hospital bosses have stressed that the minor injuries unit and other outpatients services are operating there as normal.

Cllr Miles Parkinson, leader of Hyndburn Council, said wider questions still remained over who ultimately should take responsibility for funding such works, between clinical commissioners and the hospitals trust.

Rehab beds such as those offered at Accrington Victoria saved patients' families having to travel to the likes of Manchester and Preston, while their loved ones recuperated, he told the Telegraph.

"You've only got to walk around the corridors there and see the plaques, for when money was originally donated for the hospital, to see what it means to local people," said Cllr Parkinson.

Tony McDonald, operations director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust said: "Following the failure of the heating system on Ward 2, patient admissions were suspended to allow a detailed inspection of the ward and the surrounding areas.

"In addition to the heating failure, several urgent and extensive repairs were identified and a programme of essential works began. At this time, further repairs need to be completed. While Ward Two remains closed, all other NHS services at Accrington Victoria Community Hospital are operating as normal, including the minor injuries unit, the GP practice and outpatient clinics."