HOSPITAL bosses are urging people across the borough not to attend A and E unless they really need to after another surge in patients.
More than 20 per cent more people than usual turned up at Wigan Infirmary’s casualty department during the Easter holidays, but attendances have been steadily creeping up since the beginning of April, putting extra pressure on hospital staff.
And now hospital chiefs are encouraging people to use alternatives to the Accident and Emergency department unless they have a serious health condition or it is an emergency.
Fiona Noden, deputy director of operations, said: “The number of patients attending A and E has increased significantly over the Easter weekend and we continue to see large numbers coming to A and E with less serious conditions, that could be treated elsewhere.
“People can choose to self-treat at home or seek support from local pharmacies, their GP - including the out-of-hours service or NHS Direct. We want to ensure all patients are treated quickly in the best location and A and E is not the right choice for minor conditions.”
Following the recent admissions upsurge bosses have looked into what might have been the cause but were unable to pinpoint a particular trend.
As part of the national NHS Choose Well campaign Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust are letting people know about the alternatives to going to A and E with less serious illnesses or injuries.
This aims to ensure that people make the right choice when deciding where to go for treatment.
A spokesman for the Trust said: “Local pharmacies are just one option if you need advice or treatment for a minor illness and offer free, expert advice for a range of minor conditions, and the GP out-of-hours service is another option to consider.
“There is also the walk-in centre at Leigh Infirmary that can help with minor injuries or ailments and is open seven days a week from 7am until 9pm and no appointments are necessary.
“We are asking people for their support to make sure that we can give urgent and emergency care to those people who need it most.
“We need the public to think twice and make sure they choose the right service for minor illnesses, ailments and injuries and utilise other services such as out of hours GPs.
“The public should only attend A and E if they have a serious health condition and in a genuine emergency.”
Information about all health services available in Wigan, such as pharmacies, GPs, the Leigh walk-in centre is available on NHS Direct at http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/ or ring them on 0845 46 47.
There is also the GP Out-of-hours service on 01942 829911 and Leigh walk-in centre 01942 483453.