Burton’s accident and emergency department is to close for major construction work - triggering a warning for the public to be patient throughout the busy winter period.

Patients have been reassured that no services will be lost as the unit will relocate to a neighbouring ward, until the refurbishment is complete in March next year.

The work is part of a £1.24m project to modernise the minor injuries area of the A&E area and the NHS trust said it underlined the trust’s commitment to retaining urgent care services in Burton, ahead of the proposed merger with Derby Teaching Hospitals.

Helen Scott-South, chief executive, said: "This is an extremely exciting development for the trust as it will help to provide a more modern and spacious area within the emergency department to enhance the high-quality care we provide to patients.

Helen Scott-South will retire should the merger go ahead as planned
Helen Scott-South said the refurbishment is an 'extremely exciting development'

"We have committed to providing a full, high-quality urgent care service to the people of Burton and the surrounding areas as part of our proposed merger with Derby and this investment emphasises just how important our emergency department is, not just for the public but for our clinicians as well."

During the works, which will see the doors of A&E close at 10am on Thursday, November 16, the minor injuries area of the department is being relocated temporarily to the ambulatory emergency centre (AEC) on ward 9 next to the emergency department on the ground floor at Queen’s Hospital.

The hospital said there will be no change to the service provided to patients although with demand for urgent care services during the winter period expected to be high, the public are being urged to consider using alternative services, such as minor injury units, pharmacy and GP surgeries, for their care needs.

Duncan Bedford, chief operating officer, added: "Similar to all other acute trusts across the country, we are expecting demand for our urgent care services to be high this winter, so we are asking the public to be patient with us during these important works.

"Patients with non-life threatening conditions are urged to explore different pathways during this time as they may be seen and cared for faster. Local alternatives include: Minor Injury Units at Tamworth and Lichfield, walk-in facilities in Swadlincote, pharmacies, NHS 111 and their own GP surgery."

The investment is part-funded by the allocation of £785,000 A&E capital funding, awarded to the Trust by the Department of Health in April 2017.