Health chiefs at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust have issued a stern warning to patients to not come to A&E with a minor condition as hospitals continue to struggle ahead of winter
An NHS hospital in Manchester has warned its patients that they must use the right service for their condition as people arrived at A&E with minor conditions.
Among the conditions were a verruca and chapped lips, needless to say neither of which is an appropriate condition to go to A&E with.
Now, bosses at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for the Royal Bolton Hospital, have warned people that they must only use A&E if it is an emergency, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Already stretched waiting times are being exacerbated by people demanding treatment for injuries and illnesses which could be treated at home.
The trust has revealed that an average of 368 people have come to A&E every day since April 1, a figure that is only set to rise with one of the potentially toughest winters in the NHS’ history on the way.
In total, more than 74,000 people attended Royal Bolton Hospital’s emergency department between 1 April and 19 October 2022.
Now, health chiefs have urged patients to use the service appropriate for their condition, such as a pharmacist, walk-in centre, or GP.
Imran Khan, urgent care lead at the trust, said: “What we have to do is prioritise patients in terms of their clinical condition.
“People may wait longer if their condition is not as serious as someone else’s, or be directed to another more appropriate service.
“We have seen an increase in the number of patients who come with conditions that could be managed at home.
“During summer we had someone turn up with chapped lips, and someone else with a verruca – both things which could’ve been seen by a pharmacist.”
Laura Wells, Emergency Department Matron at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “In an emergency situation or if anyone has an accident then we’re here to help.
“There are other options, such as seeing your GP, walk-in centres or self-help, which we know some people who present with us would’ve been better to seek one of those options first.”
Hannah Durrant, Consultant at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, added: “We’re really happy to see people when they’re unwell, that’s what we’re here for and that’s our job.
“However, if you’re not sure whether you need an emergency department or not, contact 111, your GP or a pharmacist and take advice there.”
The medics acknowledged that patients are currently experiencing difficulties getting GP appointments.
Dr Niruban Ratnarajah, Clinical Director (Bolton) NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care and a GP Partner at Stonehill Medical Centre in Farnworth, said: “We know that there are delays accessing a GP appointment nationally. Across the country there have been more people presenting at A&E, and many of them simply don’t need to go there.
“Our practices are open and our doctors are working hard to see the patients that need to be seen, this may just take place in a different way.
“Your appointment might be over the phone or with a member of staff other than a GP, such as a nurse practitioner or another professional best suited to support you.
“You may also be directed to a local community pharmacy for advice for particular conditions rather than being offered an appointment.
“Like all areas of the NHS, we’re under incredible demand. Please think carefully about where you can get help so that we can make sure the right person is there to help you.”
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