People across west Hertfordshire are being invited to have their say on future urgent care services at St Albans City Hospital.

The minor injuries unit at the hospital has been temporarily closed since April 2020 due to NHS staff being redeployed to deal with the pandemic.

The unit has yet to reopen with West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust determined to keep the hospital 'Covid-free'.

Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for planning and funding health services locally, is now progressing work to look at what urgent care service to provide at St Albans City Hospital once services can reopen next year.

Four options have been drawn up for future urgent care services for the hospital, with the CCG preferring to open a new integrated urgent care service at St Albans City hospital that would offer a minor illness and injury service.

It would be led and delivered by senior experienced nurses with the support of GPs. It would offer some additional diagnostic services on top of x-rays. Appointments would be through the NHS111 service or GPs. There would be no walk-in patients.

Other options include reopening the minor injury unit as it was before the pandemic, open a new urgent treatment centre that would provide a comprehensive urgent illness and injury service with a broader range of diagnostic services, or not reopen an urgent care service at the hospital and ask patients to continue to use other nearby services in the same way as they have been doing in the last 12 months.

Dr Richard Pile, lead GP for urgent care at Herts Valleys CCG says: "In looking at future services at St Albans City Hospital we want to improve what we have had, and to provide a service that supports patients well into the future, sitting alongside other available services.

"We want to state from the outset that we’re not seeking to cut urgent care services at St Albans. What we are doing is evaluating all options fully and we are putting these to the public."

St Albans City Hospital is in line to receive some investment from the Government as part of a wider investment of hospital services in west Hertfordshire.

The NHS trust is committed to spending the vast majority of funds - which still needs to be secured - on rebuilding Watford General Hospital.

Related: Plans to redevelop Watford General Hospital submitted

Related: Redevelopment of Watford General and other hospitals 'to cost £590m plus'

Related: Survey suggests lack of public support for hospital plans in west Hertfordshire

Dr Pile added: Dr Richard Pile adds: "I would encourage people to look at the information that we’re making available as part of the engagement. This explains the various factors that the CCG will consider in making a decision in the autumn about what service to provide at St Albans City Hospital.

"Ultimately we want to make the best use of our workforce and resources to get the best for our patients. And we want as many people as possible to tell us what they think, to help us make the decision."

A survey asking the public about the future of the minor injuries unit in St Albans is running from June 18 until Sunday August 1.