About 320 patients are being seen every day at the accident and emergency department of Northampton General Hospital, it has been revealed.
In what hospital bosses are describing as “intense pressure”, the unit has seen an 11 percent increase in attendnaces in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same period last year, the equivalent of an extra 30 people per day.
Health leaders at NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group is calling on the public for their support to reduce the demand on the A&E unit.
Dr Darin Seiger, chair of the group, said: “The hospital is experiencing major spikes in demand and we really need the public to help by making the right choices when they or their loved ones fall ill.
“It must be stressed that A&E should only be used for critical or life-threatening situations requiring medical attention, such as loss of consciousness, heavy blood loss, suspected broken bones, persistent chest pain, difficulty breathing, overdoses, ingestion or poisoning.
“People with minor injuries and ailments should not attend at the A&E department and are warned they will be referred elsewhere or face longer waits than normal as more serious cases are prioritised,” he added.
“People often think that visiting their local A&E or calling 999 is their only option when their GP surgery is closed, but this is not the case.
“There are lots of services that offer treatment and advice in the evenings and at the weekend, including local pharmacists, NHS 111 and out-of-hours GP services.
“The vast majority of minor illnesses and injuries are able to be treated successfully at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet or with advice from your local pharmacist,” he said.