Royal Oldham Hospital urges public to stay away from A&E unless it's a real emergency as staff see record numbers

Royal Oldham Hospital urges public to stay away from A&E unless it's a real emergency as staff see record numbers
26 March 2016

THE A&E department at The Royal Oldham Hospital is currently experiencing unprecedented high levels of demand and so to ensure patient safety staff are urging the public not to visit A&E unless they are critically ill, have been involved in an accident, or it’s an emergency and urgent care is needed.

Despite the public messages issued in advance of the Easter weekend advising the public to choose well and to only attend A&E if they really have to, staff at The Royal Oldham Hospital have seen record numbers (on average the A&E department is receiving 18 patients per hour).

During Good Friday the A&E at Oldham saw 289 patients. On Saturday, as of 6pm the department saw 216 patients.

Staff are working as best they can to meet high numbers of people turning up to A&E, many of whom are presenting with minor ailments including coughs and colds and therefore are having to wait up to 7 hours to be treated after triage.

The pressures facing A&E are compounded by the acuity of patients and the large numbers of patients who cannot be discharged from hospital 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, which runs three A&E departments including Royal Oldham, said: 

"I have been at each of our four hospital sites, including our A&Es, today 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 so of whom are here that could find alternatives, are experiencing extreme delay. We have already had to deflect some ambulances to our Fairfield A&E to ease the pressure on our staff.

“Everyone will benefit if we can give urgent and emergency care to the people most in need. We are therefore 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. The main message really is if it isn’t an emergency and you don’t need urgent care, please don’t come to A&E.

“Please consider all the alternative healthcare options available to you before coming to A&E. 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.”