Extra doctors to help A&E pressure

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WIGAN health chiefs are predicting an upcoming busy period for the borough’s A&E department by taking measures to ease pressure on emergency staff.

An extra two GPs will be posted at Leigh’s NHS walk-in centre during the Easter period for those with an urgent need to see a doctor.

We would like to thank people who used the most appropriate NHS service over the winter period so that in Wigan borough we avoided the problems seen at some A&E departments in other parts of the country

Dr Tim Dalton

The move comes as the town’s emergency department is coming out of one of the busiest winter periods ever with a waiting times crisis seen in other areas of the country.

Dr Tim Dalton, chair of Wigan’s clinical commissioning group (CCG), said: “We would like to thank people who used the most appropriate NHS service over the winter period so that in Wigan borough we avoided the problems seen at some A&E departments in other parts of the country.

“Unless it is a life threatening accident or emergency we ask people not to go to A&E and instead consider seeing their local pharmacist; making an appointment at their GP surgery, using the Out of Hours GP service or calling NHS 111 according to their symptoms. If you have a minor injury it’s usually much quicker to visit the walk in centre at Leigh Infirmary. We will also have two GPs over the Easter period at Leigh walk-in centre so there will be no need to make an appointment if you urgently need to see a doctor over the holidays.”

The move to ease pressures over Easter comes in the same week the British Medical Association (BMA) has called on politicians to “commit to having an open and honest debate to find real solutions” with A&Es across the country left “bursting at the seams.”

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said: “The pressure on A&E is increasing every year yet politicians have so far failed to take the decisive action needed to put in place a sustainable, long-term plan. The result is an NHS that lurches from one winter crisis to another, which aims to simply manage rather than prevent a crisis, to the detriment of patient care.

“Rather than annual emergency bailouts that are designed more to chase headlines than offer a lasting solution to the crisis, we need a long-term plan to equip hospitals with the funding, staff and resources they need to meet rising demand.

“Sticking plaster solutions won’t solve the long-term challenges faced by A&E.”

The time has come for the politicians to stop playing games with emergency care and commit to having an open and honest public debate about the future of the NHS.”