A CASUALTY unit which was controversially closed down is to re-open temporarily to cope with an influx of extra patients during winter.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) said a “significant spike” in patient numbers over the recent cold snap had led to the decision to open minor injuries unit at Yorkhill.

From January 3, patients suffering from broken bones, cuts and other minor injuries will be able to emergency treatment at the West Glasgow Ambulatory Care Hospital. The health board said the unit would remain open until March.

The service, which is staffed by emergency nurse practitioners, was axed a year ago, with workers transferred to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

At the time NHSGGC said patient numbers had been lower than expected and that the transferral would strengthen emergency services at the superhospital. But the closure was criticised by politicians, patients and nursing unions who said it would pile pressure on the city’s two accident and emergency units.

The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) said patient numbers had averaged 32.7 per day – roughly equivalent on a staff-to-patient ratio to the city’s larger minor injury units (MIUs) at the Victoria Infirmary and Stobhill.

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: “The combination of icy weather and respiratory conditions has caused a significant rise in patient demand.”

Dr Jennifer Armstrong, medical director, said: “As always at this time of year, our staff are seeing an increasing number of patients at our Emergency Departments. For many, our MIUs are often the best healthcare setting for them.”