A hospital is shutting its A&E department to allow staff time to prepare for the opening of its new £18 million emergency services centre next month.
Sandwell General Hospital's casualty department will be shut for 24 hours from 9am on Saturday, April 16.
The new facility, which will open to the public on April 17, replaces the hospital's original A&E department which was destroyed in an arson attack in July 2002. Since then, emergency services and care have been provided in temporary accommodation at the hospital in West Bromwich.
Yesterday Trish Everett, divisional general manager of emergency care for Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, said detailed plans were in place for the move.
"From 9am on April 16 to 9am on April 17 there will be no medical staff available within the old and new A&E facilities to deal with any patients who arrive and require emergency treatment," she said.
"Patients should contact NHS Direct or go to A&E at City Hospital or their nearest hospital instead." During the closure, West Midlands Ambulance Service will be instructed to divert urgent cases to three other hospitals - Russell's Hall in Dudley, City in Birmingham, or Walsall Manor.
No medical staff will be on hand to treat patients with minor injuries who make their own way to casualty, although GPs will still be able to refer people to the hospital's emergency assessment unit as usual.
A spokeswoman for the trust said: "It's imperative we get the message across now that A&E at Sandwell will be closed for 24 hours as a temporary measure.
"It's vital that those people bringing in young patients, like a child with a broken leg for example, realise there will be no one to treat them here during the closure.
"This measure is being taken to allow staff to move the rest of the equipment from the temporary A&E facility into the emergency services centre."
The new centre will house the hospital's first dedicated children's unit, a fast-track minor injuries unit, a 32-bed assessment centre, and a tenbed coronary care facility with a cardiac cathertisation unit. People are being invited to take a tour of the new facility on April 8, between 11am and 3pm.
Meanwhile, the trust is facing the threat of legal action after a young Oldbury man, who was discharged despite suffering blinding headaches, died from a brain haemorrhage.
Craig Weir, aged 23, died from a brain aneurism four days after he went to Sandwell's A&E department because he was unable to stand, and was suffering memory loss and sickness.
Yesterday hospital chiefs said Mr Weir, who died in December 2003, was given a full clinical examination, but a scan was not felt necessary.
His mother, Janice Weir, is now considering taking legal action against the hospital for failing to give Craig a brain scan.
Dr Hugh Bradbury, medical director at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "On a daily basis many people come to A&E departments complaining of headaches and for the overwhelming majority there is no serious cause."