Doctors at Royal Oldham Hospital A&E see high levels of patients

Doctors at Royal Oldham Hospital A&E see high levels of patients
30 December 2015

NHS STAFF working at The Royal Oldham Hospital’s busy A&E department have seen unprecedented numbers of people attending over the Christmas period.

Doctors at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs The Royal Oldham Hospital as wells its two other A&E departments and Urgent Care Centre, and the local CCG are again encouraging people to think carefully before attending A&E unless it is an emergency and instead use NHS resources in the community such as a pharmacist, GP surgery or walk-in centre.

Over the last five days since Christmas Eve (24th – 28th December inclusive) the Trust received 4,124 patients through its three busy A&E departments at Oldham, North Manchester and Bury (Fairfield), and the Urgent Care Centre at Rochdale Infirmary. At The Royal Oldham Hospital, A&E staff saw over 1,300 patients across the five days. The busiest day was Monday 28th December across all of the Trust’s hospital sites.

Dr Jimmy Stuart, Divisional Medical Director for Medicine at The Pennine Acute Trust (pictured), said:

“Our staff, along with other Acute Trusts nationally, are working incredibly hard and seeing extremely high numbers of patients presenting at our A&E departments. The majority of patients requiring urgent treatment for what we call major conditions have included head injuries, falls, respiratory problems, abdominal pain and mental health issues. We have also seen a large proportion of patients coming to us with less serious conditions and minor complaints such as alcohol intoxication, back pain, migraines and headaches, ear problems, and sore throats. Many of these could be treated through local pharmacies, primary care and GP practices.   

“Self care is the best choice to treat minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats and upset stomachs. If treatment is needed for a minor ailment, over the counter remedies from a community pharmacy can usually help.  If you have a cold or flu like symptoms please seek help from a pharmacist and get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. As colds and flu are caused by viruses, antibiotics will not help get rid of them. These are fairly self-limiting illnesses and those affected may feel unwell for a few days.

“Only those people who are extremely unwell and in need urgent medical attention should come to A&E where we will provide the best possible care to patients in an emergency. We asking the public to think carefully before coming to A&E if they can be seen somewhere else and please help keep our A&E departments free for those who are critically ill and who really need urgent care.”

Dr Nas Gill, GP Partner at CH Medical in Oldham and Governing Body Member at NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“I would ask patients to think carefully about where and when they seek medical help, especially when the NHS is under particular stress. A&E is not the right place to go with minor self-limiting conditions. Patients should consider their local pharmacy first. Also don’t assume your GP practice will have no urgent appointments - we have invested in Oldham’s GP practices to boost the number of appointments available, including ensuring all children under five who need it are offered an assessment the same day”.

By staying well and choosing the right service, patients will get the best treatment in the shortest possible time, whilst keeping emergency health services available for emergencies and life-threatening conditions.

Choosing the right service to meet your needs this winter:

  • NHS Choices website ( offers up to date expert advice as well details of local services. 
  • NHS 111 is the non-emergency number open 24 hours a day. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 and you will be asked you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you.
  • Local community pharmacies can help you with lots of everyday ailments.
  • Your own GP practice may offer urgent appointments
  • Walk-in services

Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments and the 999 ambulance service should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation such as choking, chest pain, blackouts, serious blood loss, suspected stroke or meningitis.

Visit the NHS Choices Stay Well web page for advice about how to stay well this winter.

Pictured: Dr Jimmy Stuart, Divisional Medical Director for Medicine at The Pennine Acute Trust