Wigan Hospital Trust declares critical incident after 'unprecedented numbers' turned up at A&E

Emergency Department at Wigan Hospital. Credit: NHS

The public are being urged not to attend an emergency department at a North West hospital, after "unprecedented" numbers of people turned up.

A critical incident was declared at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan on Tuesday, 20 December, after staff faced "exceptionally" high levels of patients and "growing pressure" on services.

The hospital said the A&E is full and asked people not to attend unless it is a "life or limb-threatening emergency".

It comes as ambulance workers in the North West walked out in the first of two days of strike action in a dispute over pay.

In a statement, the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals Trust said it was working to free up beds.

The hospital trust said the ongoing challenges mean that some non-urgent operations and appointments will need to be re-arranged.

The statement added: "If you are not contacted directly, please continue to turn up for your appointment.

"The safety of our patients and our staff is always our top priority and we are working through who needs our help as quickly and as safely as we can.

We must prioritise treatment for patients with life and limb-threatening conditions and injuries."

What can I do if I need help?

The public are being urged to visit NHS 111 online in the first instance, contact their GP or local pharmacy for advice, or visit an Urgent Treatment Centre.

The Trust is asking the public to help by:

  • Collecting family and friends from hospital as soon as they are ready to be discharged, to free up beds for those who need them.

  • Think about the most appropriate NHS service for your needs and to only call 999 in the event of a life-threatening illness or injury.

  • Stay away from hospitals if you have symptoms of or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, unless it is an emergency.

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