A WOMAN visited Wigan’s A&E 110 times last year, shock new figures reveal.
The top 10 list of patients who have clocked up the most repeat visits in 2014 shows some have totals almost working out at one visit per week. Having just come out of one of its busiest winters – with departments across the country hit by a waiting times crisis – borough health bosses said attempts to cut down on repeat attendances were ongoing.
And residents have again been urged to only visit A&E in the event of the most serious accidents and take advantage of other NHS services. The top five in the list, obtained by the Evening Post through a Freedom of Information request, includes the 30 to 39 year old with 110 visits, meaning on average she visited twice a week.
It also details that a woman in her 50s visited on 40 occasions, a woman in her 30s on 39 occasions and two males, in their 40s and 20s visited 38 and 34 times respectively.
Fiona Noden, director of operations at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We understand and appreciate that there are a small percentage of patients with complex conditions who need to attend A&E for treatment and support, on a regular basis.
“We are working hard with our partner organisations to improve the care pathway for patients with complex and long term conditions.
“Local Integrated Teams have been created across the borough, which use a methodology that is based upon working closely with patients and healthcare providers to agree their plan of care. It is hoped this continued approach will, in time, reduce the number of repeat attendances by this specific group of patients.”
Staff at Wigan Infirmary received praise from Trust bosses and MP Lisa Nandy for their work during the recent nationwide crisis as the borough consistently hit NHS waiting time targets while others fell well short.
But residents are still being advised to only visit A&E in extreme circumstances.
Ms Noden added: “The A&E department continues to see a number of patients coming to A&E with less serious conditions that could be better treated elsewhere. People can choose to self-treat at home or seek support from local pharmacies, their GPs or the walk-in centre.
“We want to ensure all patients receive the right care, at the right time and in the right location. And A&E is not the right choice for minor conditions.
“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. The public should only attend A&E if they have a serious health condition or in a genuine emergency.”