A “drainage issue” has forced Royal Bolton Hospital to close part of its accident and emergency department.

The Minerva Road hospital’s A&E department has frequently faced extreme pressure over recent months and years.

But today’s drainage problem has prompted medics to warn people yet again to only come into A&E if they are faced with a genuinely “life or limb” threatening emergency.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust chief operating officer Rae Wheatcroft said: “We are currently managing an issue with the drains in the extended area of our Emergency Department, which has resulted in the temporary closure of this part of the ED whilst the issue is resolved and the area deep-cleaned.

“As a result, the Emergency Department is currently running on reduced capacity, and is extremely busy.

The Bolton News: People have been warned that the A&E department is extremely busyPeople have been warned that the A&E department is extremely busy (Image: Bolton NHS Foundation Trust)

“We’re doing everything we can, but you can support us by thinking carefully about what the most appropriate health service is for your care needs.”

This comes not long after last warned people that waiting times at A&E had become extremely long.

On Thursday March 14 the hospital warned that average wait times for people with non-emergency injuries or illnesses had soared to around seven hours.

This came after frequent warnings over the last few months and more than a year after the health trust’s “think twice” campaign that ran over the winter of 2022.

This encouraged people to avoid attending A&E unless it was strictly necessary.

Now, Royal Bolton Hospital staff have said that they are prioritising patients most in need of help.  

They say that the most seriously ill and injured patients will always been seen immediate.

But people who visit without needing emergency or urgent treatment will be safely supported to use alternative services.

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But they have been warned that given the need to prioritise the most seriously ill patients, they are likely to face long waits.

Ms Wheatcroft said: “If your condition is life or limb-threatening, please still attend the Emergency Department.

“For other care needs, such as minor illnesses, please use NHS 111 online where your symptoms can be assessed.

“You can also book an appointment with your GP or visit a local pharmacy.”