THE A&E department at The Royal Oldham Hospital is currently experiencing unprecedented high levels of demand and so are urging the public not to visit unless it is an emergency.
Staff at have seen record numbers as during Good Friday they saw saw 289 patients then on Saturday, as of 6pm 216 patients, which is an average of 18 patients an hour.
Staff are working as best they can to meet high numbers of people turning up, many of whom have minor ailments including coughs and colds but have to wait up to 7 hours to be treated after triage.
The pressures are compounded by the large numbers of patients who cannot be discharged even though they are medically fit due to delays in their discharge and transfer of care back home or in social care in the community.
Damien Finn, Interim Chief Executive at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “I have been at each of our four hospital sites, including our A&Es, to check how things are.
“All staff are working incredibly hard across all of our emergency departments and putting patient safety first.
“Staff at the A&E department at Oldham are finding the high levels of demand and pressure on our services particularly difficult.
“The Easter bank holiday weekend is proving a real challenge with large numbers of patients, many who are being brought by ambulance are acutely unwell.
“As at 6pm today we have 105 people in the A&E at Oldham and on average 18 patients are coming in every hour. This is unprecedented.
“Unfortunately, our patients are experiencing extreme delay. We have already had to deflect some ambulances to our Fairfield A&E to ease the pressure on our staff.
“We are appealing to 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.
“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.
“Please consider all the alternative healthcare options available. People should self-medicate where appropriate, make an appointment with your GP, attend a NHS Walk-in Centre, or speak to your local pharmacist.
“If you need non-emergency medical help outside of your GP opening hours, please contact your Out-of-Hours GP service.”