ROYAL Bolton Hospital has urged people to avoid A&E unless it’s absolutely necessary, after the department had its busiest ever day.

On Monday, 472 people visited the accident and emergency department, beating the previous record of 427 set on bank holiday Monday April 22.

Between 2013 and 2018, there were only more than 400 patients on six occasions, but in the past three months, it has already happened five times.

Children’s A&E was particularly busy, helping youngsters with asthma. Last week, Asthma UK warned that a ‘pollen bomb’ sweeping across the region could lead to more asthma attacks. According to the Met Office, the pollen count will still be very high towards the end of this week.

Chief Operating Officer at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust Andy Ennis said: “The feedback we are receiving is that we have had a lot of sick patients, lots of patients with respiratory problems and, for most of them, A&E was the right place to go.

“What we need to do now as individuals is think whether A&E is the right place to get treatment or whether there is an alternative such as a GP surgery or pharmacist who can help, but also think how can I keep myself and my loved one’s well?

"These can be simple things like having enough to drink, keeping hydrated, managing long term conditions such as diabetes and asthma well, and ensuring you attend check-ups when prompted”

Dr Barry Silvert, Clinical Director for Commissioning at Bolton CCG, added: “There is no doubt that many patients genuinely require emergency treatment and they are being dealt with as a priority.

"However, we would appeal to people to consider those patients and staff and explore other alternatives before turning up at A&E unless it is a genuine emergency situation.

"The emergency department is for serious injury and life-threatening conditions only.

"For anything other than an emergency, your local pharmacist can help with minor health concerns and your GP practice can offer out-of-hours appointments.”