THE Royal Oldham Hospital's A&E department has seen a spike in people attending during the recent heatwave prompting under pressure doctors to issue a plea for the public to take care of themselves in the hot weather.

According to Northern Care Alliance the hospital has had higher than average attendances recording 356 visits on Monday (July 2) and 307 visits last Thursday (July 5) from patients with minor conditions believed be heat related

Last Monday North Manchester General Hospital A&E had its busiest day ever recorded with 393 attendances and 295 attendances on Thursday.

Medical staff appealed for people to keep cool and hydrated, to use sun screen and to think carefully before coming to A&E.

Despite the rise they say staff are working hard to treat patients as quickly as possible and patient safety is their priority.

However they warn patients presenting with minor conditions might have to wait longer, as those with serious life threatening conditions, such as major trauma from road traffic accidents, heart attacks and strokes, are taking priority.

Dr Tom Leckie, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at The Royal Oldham Hospital said: “Monday was a busy day for A&E at The Royal Oldham Hospital and we saw 356 patients attend, which is the most we have seen all week so far. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were also busy days for us and we saw over 300 attendances each day.

“I would encourage people to think carefully before coming to A&E and to only come in an emergency situation, and after considering what other healthcare services they could use instead, such as a pharmacist, GP, walk in centre or calling the NHS 111 telephone line for advice.

“I would urge people to be sensible in the heat and keep themselves hydrated; avoid drinking alcohol to excess, to keep in the shade in the hottest parts of the day, and to use sunscreen when sitting in the sun.

“Patient safety is our priority and we are working very hard to see patients as quickly as possible. Our A&E staff always prioritise and treat the sickest patients first, such as those with life-threatening conditions like head injuries, heart attacks and strokes.

“We continue to work closely with our health and social care partners in primary care, community and social care services to improve the flow of patients in and out of our hospitals and back to their homes and communities.”

Dr Jimmy Stuart, Clinical Director for Urgent Care at North Manchester General Hospital said:

“Despite our staff working extremely hard, our A&E department at North Manchester is very busy and remains under pressure. This warm weather and increased demand for our urgent care services is adding to waiting times for those with minor complaints.

“Currently we are seeing over 300 patients per day attending our A&E and on Monday 2 June it was the busiest day on record and we saw 393 patients. I would like to apologise to patients who are waiting longer than expected to be seen, and would ask the public to help us and think carefully about which health service is appropriate for their condition, only coming to A&E if it is a genuine emergency.

For advice about how to look after yourself in the hot weather, please heed the advice from Public Health England. These are its top ways for staying safe in the heat:

• look out for others, especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses

• never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals

• try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm

• if you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat

• avoid physical exertion

• wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes

• drink plenty of cold drinks

• if you have a health problem, keep medicines below 25 °C or in the refrigerator

Remember that it can get uncomfortably hot indoors too. Try to keep your bedroom and living space cool, by closing the curtains on windows that receive the sun and opening your windows at cooler times of the day and overnight when safe to do so. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat.

For advice about alternative healthcare services in the community including GPs, walk-in centres, pharmacists and NHS 111 please visit our website Choose Well page here:

There is also a hot weather advice page on the NHS Choices website here: