The minor injuries unit at an East Lancashire hospital will close until further notice due to the 'unprecedented demand' for emergency care.

Health bosses at Accrington Victoria Community Hospital have announced that they will be suspending the provision of services at the minor injuries unit from Sunday.

Director of Operations for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Sharon Gilligan, said: “We are currently experiencing an unprecedented demand for our urgent and emergency care services.

"In addition, the organisation has a higher than normal number of clinical staff who are absent from work due to sickness and Covid-19 related reasons.

“Therefore, the Trust and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group have taken the very difficult decision to temporarily close the Minor Injuries Unit at Accrington Victoria Community Hospital.

“This is a measure we have successfully taken in the past to allow clinical staff to be redeployed across other healthcare settings; enabling us to continue providing safe, personal and effective care for all our patients.

"The situation will be reviewed on a regular basis.”

The service will close from 8.30pm on Sunday January 10, and these measures will remain in place until further notice.

GP and Emergency Care Lead for East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s) Dr David White, said: “Patients requiring assistance are advised not to attend Accrington Victoria Community Hospital and instead report to Rossendale Minor Injuries Unit in Rawtenstall, Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital or Burnley General Teaching Hospital.

“However, it is important that you consider all of the healthcare options available to you.

"This may be self-medication where appropriate, an appointment with your GP, speaking to your local pharmacist, NHS 111 or NHS online services or the emergency dental line for urgent dental problems."