HOSPITAL bosses are reminding people to use A&E services when necessary during the coronavirus crisis after a record low number of people visited A&E last month.

Data published by NHS England showed that just 5,760 people went to A&E at Royal Bolton Hospital in April, the lowest number of visitors for any month since records began in August 2010.

Last month's figures showed a drop of 45 per cent from the number of patients visiting A&E in April 2019.

In March this year, 8,234 people went to A&E for treatment, down from 10,435 from the year before.

Previously, the Trust had expressed concern that some patients in need of urgent care weren't visiting the hospital when they needed to.

Andy Ennis, chief operating officer at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are here for anyone who has a serious or life threatening medical condition.

"If you have for example chest pain, stroke symptoms, heavy bleeding, a severe headache, or have a child who is extremely unwell you should come to A&E.

"However, we are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and so it is also important for your safety that if you have more minor conditions you seek treatment elsewhere such as via your GP or NHS 111.

"We need to keep all our resources available for those who need us most.”

Royal Bolton Hospital had previously revealed that patients with covid-19 symptoms were tested and separated from people without symptoms when they reach A&E.

Suspected coronavirus patients are kept on separate wards to minimise the risk of transmission.

As lockdown begins to be lifted, the NHS is starting to see usage settle down, with calls to 111 appearing to normalise after doubling in March, and increasing by 14 per cent in April.

Su Long, chief officer at Bolton CCG, added: “A&E attendances have been gradually increasing back up but they are not at the level that they were before.

"When covid-19 first started, people just didn’t want to go to hospital, but that’s starting to change.

"The NHS is encouraging people with serious problems to seek help but we still need to protect NHS capacity for covid as it has not gone away”