Altrincham Hospital's Minor Injuries Unit is to remain closed until at least August when a review into the service is to be concluded.

The unit closed last summer due to staff shortages brought on by self-isolation, only a month after it had reopened for the first time since the first lockdown in 2020.

According to a letter to stakeholders from Darren Banks, the director of strategy at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, these staff shortages continue to cause issues despite an end to self-isolation.

There is a lack of Emergency Nurse Practitioners (ENPs) in particular, who are needed at Trafford General Hospital's Urgent Treatment Centre and Wythenshawe Hospital's A&E Department instead.

Mr Banks said the trust agreed with Trafford's Clinical Commissioning Group to extend the closure of the Minor Injuries Unit until at least August, when a review into the service is to be concluded.

He suggested there a number of options for the unit, although these are not outlined.

His letter reads: "While we have been trying to attract ENPs to the service, there is a national challenge in recruiting to these posts.

"At the same time, we continue to care for significant numbers of patients who are Covid positive, and face higher than usual staff absences associated with the ongoing management of the pandemic.

"This means we are having to focus the time of our ENPs at the Urgent Treatment Centre at Trafford General Hospital and the Emergency Department at Wythenshawe Hospital given that these departments receive the most acutely unwell patients.

"This has ensured that these two key services remain both clinically safe and accessible to the population across Trafford and beyond."

Last August, the MP for Altrincham and Sale West Sir Graham Brady tried to put rumours of a permanent end to the service to bed.

Sir Graham said: "I have been given an absolute assurance that the Minor Injuries Unit will reopen as soon as staff pressures ease."

The MP reiterated this stance to The Messenger this week.

He said: "I spoke to the trust three or four weeks ago and was again assured the trust does intend to reopen the Altrincham Minor Injuries Unit, and the extended period of closure is due only to the inability to recruit sufficient senior nurse practitioners to provide this service.

"I was further assured the review due to take place during August will look at whether the service can be restored either fully or in part in the near future. It is my strong belief that reopening the Altrincham Minor Injuries Unit would relieve pressure on A&E at Wythenshawe and would therefore be a sensible step."

Altrincham Hospital continues to provide a service for outpatients, who are unaffected.