Health bosses in Bolton are urging people to come to A&E only if necessary after A&E attendances reached a new record.
Yesterday Royal Bolton Hospital's emergency department saw 472 people needing emergency help and treatment – more than staff have ever seen before in a single day.
It has prompted health chiefs from the Trust which runs the hospital but also the town's health commissioners, the CCG, who oversee the provision of GPs, to ask the public to only
visit A&E if they have an emergency.
They are also urging people be mindful, especially with the warmer weather and when the pollen count is high, of looking after themselves to prevent them becoming so unwell they
need emergency help.
Children's A&E on Monday was particularly busy helping youngsters with asthma.
The Met Office has warned that the pollen count will be very high towards the end of this week going into the weekend.
Those attending A&E at Bolton are being triaged and sign posted to other services if A&E is not deemed suitable.
Waiting times will be longer in periods of high demand which means those requiring treatment for non-life-threatening situations are likely to face lengthy waits.
Chief Operating Officer at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust Andy Ennis said: "472 attendances is a new record and we're on track to have another busy day today. Just to give you some
context, when I started in Bolton back in 2013, over the first five years, we had only six days at 400. Already this quarter (April, May, June), we have had five occasions where we have
been over 400.
"The feedback we are receiving is that we have had a lot of sick patients; lots of patients with respiratory problems and, for most of them, A&E was the right place to go.
"What we need to do now as individuals, families seeking health care, parents, sons and daughters of elderly parents, carers, is think whether A&E is the right place to get treatment
or whether there is an alternative such as a GP surgery or pharmacist who can help, but also think how can I keep myself and my loved one's well?
"These can be simple things like having enough to drink, keeping hydrated, managing long term conditions such as diabetes and asthma well, ensuring you attend check-ups when
Dr Barry Silvert, Clinical Director for Commissioning at Bolton CCG, said:
"Once again we have seen record numbers of people attending A&E, and staff are dealing with a lot of sick patients. There is no doubt that many patients genuinely require emergency treatment and they are being dealt with as a priority.
"However, we would appeal to people to consider those patients and staff and explore other alternatives before turning up at A&E unless it is a genuine emergency situation.
"The emergency department is for serious injury and life-threatening conditions only. For anything other than an emergency, your local pharmacist can help with minor health concerns and your GP practice can offer out-of-hours appointments.
"Children under the age of 12 will be assessed on the same day, either over the phone or in person, if you ring your GP practice.
"We are fast approaching the Summer holidays, which can result in all sorts of mishaps and ailments, and the weather can play a big part in people's health and wellbeing. Please be
aware of your options if you or a family member requires help, and leave A&E for those who need it most."
The latest A&E attendance figure supersedes the record logged earlier this year at Royal Bolton Hospital when 427 patients needed emergency treatment over 24 hours on Bank Holiday Monday (22nd April).