PEOPLE visiting A&E inappropriately should be turned away and refused treatment, at the hospital an NHS boss has said.

Anyone who attends the department but has not had an accident or emergency should be sent to their GP instead, Dr Barry Silvert.

The clinical director for commissioning told a board meeting that colleagues were “on board” with him.

He said: “It worries me that unfortunately some of my colleagues believe that if patients chose to go to hospital, the hospital should treat them whether they need it or not.

“I’m still firmly of the belief that the people who attend A&E inappropriately should be seen.

“We are not going to achieve that culture change unless we at some stage say no. It’s only by saying no that you actually disseminate the word.”

This comes as nearly a third of people who attended A&E at the Royal Bolton Hospital for the last two months have waited for more than four hours – a “significant deterioration” from the previous year.

Dr Silvert described the performance in urgent care as a “worrying trend”.

But some on the clinical commissioning group (CCG) board did not agree with his approach to the problem.

Professor Romesh Gupta, secondary care specialist, urged the CCG to be “open minded” as it works towards changing the culture.

He said: “It won’t be any good for anybody if they are sent back, if they say, ‘we won’t treat you, go back to the GP’. We need to relook at the whole situation.”

CCG chair Dr Wirin Bhatiani said that colleagues within the NHS are “quite concerned” about turning people away without assessing them.

Board members were keen to stress that GP appointments are available on evenings and weekends.

If you need urgent help from a GP, day or night, ring your practice as normal.