A person attended Royal Bolton Hospital’s stretched A&E department complaining of chapped lips and another with a verruca.
The details of the minor conditions people were attending casualty with were released as Bolton health bosses launched a new campaign urging people to Think Twice about the treatment they needed.
The campaign comes after a number of pleas urging people only to attend A&E in an emergency – and is designed to educate people in Bolton where best to go for treatment.
The message is ‘please choose the right healthcare service’.
Bolton’s health authority says there are a full range of options and services available for people to seek treatment.
These include 111, GPs, out of our services, pharmacies as well the emergency department.
Royal Bolton Hospital’s A&E is regularly seeing waiting times of several hours.
Health bosses hope that by ‘thinking twice’ people will get the right treatment, at the right place and at the right time – and help the NHS to deal with increasing pressures.
More than 74,000 people attended Royal Bolton Hospital’s Emergency Department between 1 April and 19 October 2022.
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Hannah Durrant, Consultant at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “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.”
Since 1 April, an average of 368 people have attended the Emergency Department each day.
Imran Khan, Urgent Care Lead at Bolton NHS Foundation 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.”
Waiting times fluctuate across a 24-hour period, but on average attendees wait more than two hours to be seen.
Imran added: “It’s worth remembering that the problems people come here with are urgent to them, and they want things treated immediately.
“However 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.”
Get medical help online via 111.nhs.uk, or call 111 instead.
The Be The Difference Bolton website has information to help people ‘think twice’ and choose the right NHS service for their health need. There is also a handy leaflet.
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.”