Patients have been warned to stay away from a South Yorkshire A&E unit unless they’re facing a genuine emergency – after it was swamped with too many people seeking treatment.
Accident and emergency at Rotherham Hospital has been under ‘extreme pressure’ so far this week, with 270 patients attending on Monday alone.
Bosses said around a third were fit to be seen by a GP rather than hospital medics, and complaining of day-to-day ailments, rather than there being an early spate of winter illnesses.
According to the latest figures from NHS England, last week Rotherham’s A&E ward saw 1,409 patients – of whom more than 300 waited over four hours to be treated.
That compares with 1,267 for the same week last year.
In Sheffield the number of A&E patients has increased too.
Last week 3,012 were seen, up from 2,813 during the first week in November 2013.
A spokeswoman for the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said doctors need to focus on ‘those most in need’. “Rotherham Hospital is currently under extreme pressure with a high volume of patients attending A&E,” she said.
“The public are reminded to choose well when accessing health care and attend A&E only in the case of an emergency – serious illness and major injuries.
“Making the right choice about where to get help when you need it will ensure you receive the best possible treatment, allowing busy services such as A&E to concentrate on helping those most in need.”
She said anyone needing out-of-hours health advice should call NHS 111.
Last month the Rotherham trust’s board of directors was asked to approve plans for a £12.2 million emergency centre close to A&E, which would deal with urgent but non life-threatening cases.
It is expected to be open by spring 2017.
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