THE accident and emergency department at Whiston Hospital is exceptionally busy, warn health chiefs.

The recent snow and flu cases have caused an increase in the number of people who need admitting and this is having a significant impact on an already busy system.

People are being urged to attend Accident & Emergency for emergency and life threatening conditions only and use alternative services for all other illness and injury.

Dr Gary O’Hare, clinical lead for Urgent Care said: “Our priority is to ensure that people who need urgent and emergency care get it.

"It is extremely important for patients and their families to work with our staff and as soon as they are well, make the necessary arrangements to return home in a timely manner. This helps to free up beds for those who need our acute care.

"We are also asking people to attend A&E for emergency care only.

"Patients attending with minor injuries may experience unavoidably long delays.

" I would like to remind the public about alternative health care options available at this time, such as Urgent Care and Walk-In Centres, community pharmacy and general practice."

People who are unsure of which service they need should call 111 or visit

Urgent Care Centres, Walk-in Centres or out of hours GP services can all treat minor injuries including:

• Cuts and grazes

• Sprains and strains

• Bites and stings

• Infected wounds

• Eye problems such as minor infections

• Abdominal pain

• Fever

• Water infections

• Rashes

• Diarrhoea and vomiting