Plea to cut non-urgent Sheffield A&E visits after ward swamped again

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HEALTH bosses in Sheffield are again urging people not to visit the city’s accident and emergency department unless absolutely necessary after the ward was inundated with more than 350 patients in a single day.

The A&E unit at the Northern General Hospital in Fir Vale had one of its busiest-ever days on Monday, with 370 people asking for treatment.

Recently the ward has come under strain because of patients complaining of winter bugs - but over the past few days services have come under ‘significant pressure’ from people suffering a wide variety of ailments.

Prof Hilary Chapman, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are seeing a big increase in the number of patients that are presenting at our emergency department this week. A number of these patients need very complex emergency care but at the same time we are regularly seeing people come to A&E with more minor conditions.

“For non-urgent illnesses or injuries, people can help support us by going to the walk-in centre on Broad Lane or the minor injuries unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital instead of A&E.

“Both are open from early morning until late in the evening and you don’t need an appointment.”

Prof Chapman added: “Given the high level of demand, patients with less urgent injuries or illnesses are likely to be seen much more quickly at Broad Lane or the Minor Injuries Unit because at A&E we have to give priority to the most serious cases first.”