A CHILDREN’S unit at Fairfield Hospital which was shut temporarily in mid-December will remain closed until the end of the month at least.

Health bosses took the decision, so nurses could be transferred to the Royal Oldham Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital to deal with an unprecedented influx of young patients.

This resulted in the closure of the children’s observation and assessment unit at Fairfield to inpatients, which normally operates between 8am and 11pm.

However, Cathy Trinick, interim divisional director of women and children’s services at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “A paediatric doctor continues to be based within Fairfield’s accident and emergency (A&E) department and is available to treat sick children.

“The low numbers of children who have attended Fairfield and have needed to be admitted for further care and treatment have been cared for at North Manchester General or The Royal Oldham Hospitals which are fully staffed round the clock.

“GPs are automatically referring sick children directly to attend North Manchester or Oldham hospitals if appropriate.

“Due to the continuing winter pressures facing the paediatric service, it has been agreed with commissioners and the lead primary care doctor at NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) that the current arrangements will remain in place until the end of January when the situation will be reviewed again.”

She added: “The public are reminded that A&E departments are for those people who are extremely unwell and need urgent medical attention. Minor illnesses such as colds and flu are fairly self-limiting; get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

“The local NHS Choose Well campaign gives the public lots of clear information on which conditions can safely be looked after at home, which symptoms need to be seen by NHS services in your area and what signs to look out for that mean it’s time to call 999 and head to A&E.”

The Choose Well Manchester website can be found at manchester.