Health chiefs in Sheffield are urging people to attend A&E only if absolutely necessary - after it was revealed waits of more than four hours increase at the city’s emergency unit on Saturdays and Sundays.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals met its target to see 95 per cent of A&E patients, on average, within four hours from April to August.
However figures published in a report by the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group showed that the number seen within four hours dipped below 95 per cent 14 times on Saturdays and Sundays from April to July.
More than 64,000 people attended the unit at the Northern General Hospital over the past five months.
Kirsten Major, director of strategy and operations at the hospitals trust, said: “All emergency services are very busy and it is pleasing to see that we achieved the challenging target of seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours of them attending A&E and that we are currently performing better the national average in this area.
“The public can help us keep waiting times to a minimum by choosing the right health service for their needs and only using A&E for serious or life-threatening situations. We prioritise the sickest patients which means those attending with minor ailments and injuries will wait longer.
“These patients should consider services such as the walk-in centre, minor injuries, their GP or their local pharmacy.”
Dr Zak McMurray, clinical director at the CCG, added: “We need to make sure that everyone knows about the range of NHS services available to them in Sheffield and that when people become ill that they stop and think - does this injury or illness really need emergency treatment?
“Many people don’t realise how much time it costs the administrative and clinical services at A&E to deal with an individual patient, and any that don’t need to be there will detract from the care that can be provided for those who do.
“Please remember A&E is for accidents and emergency only. If in doubt visit your local pharmacy, ring 111 or contact your local GP practice for advice.”
Visit www.sheffieldccg.nhs.uk/Your-Health/choose-well-guide.htm for more information on health services in Sheffield.