More than two in five patients at Royal Bolton Hospital have had to wait too long for the most urgent A&E care, well behind NHS targets.

Figures from the NHS show that around 43 per cent of the 10,748 people who went to Royal Bolton for the most serious A&E treatment last month waited for longer than four hours, coming to 4,621 people, while NHS targets say that 95 per cent of patients should be seen within this time.

This comes after a long running campaign in which Bolton’s NHS trust has urged people to only go to A&E if it is absolutely necessary.

Chief operating officer Rae Wheatcroft said: “The public can also help us manage periods of demand by ensuring they are seeking help from the most appropriate health services, using self-care options, pharmacy and NHS 111 online for 24/7 advice about the most appropriate care for less urgent conditions, which will help us make sure A&E and 999 ambulance services are free for those that need them the most.

“We are always here to help in an emergency or life-threatening situation, but if you are not sure then check NHS 111 online or by phone.”

The Bolton News:

At one point earlier this month the A&E department had "four times more people than space"

The wait times are a significant increase compared to May last year in which 30 per cent of people had to wait too long.

Since then Bolton NHS Foundation Trust has issued warnings about the state of A&E including last winter’s Think Twice campaign, which urged people to stay away over the Christmas unless it was a genuine emergency.

Earlier in June, staff at the hospital warned that at one point they were treating four times more people than they had space.

But May saw a slight improvement compared to April, when 47 per cent of people were waiting too long.

Ms Wheatcroft said: “Our staff work incredibly hard day in day out to provide the best possible levels of care for our patients, and we’re pleased that we have seen a small improvement to wait times, and that the majority of people are seen within four hours, although we could still do much better.”