PATIENTS are being urged to only attend Whiston Hospital's A&E if it is a genuine emergency due to "unavoidably long delays".

Health chiefs at Whiston Hospital are warning people with minor injuries to head to walk-in centres and urgent care centres rather than emergency departments after patient numbers soared this week.

Dr Kevin Hardy, medical director, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Whiston Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department is currently extremely busy, like all others in the region, and we are asking that you only attend if it is an emergency.

"Unfortunately, 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, Pharmacists, GPs, NHS 111 or please use the Examine Your Options website:”

Urgent Care Centres, Walk-in Centres or out of hours GP services can all treat minor injuries including: cuts and grazes, sprains, strains and stings, infected wounds, eye problems such as minor infections, abdominal pain, fever, water infections, rashes, diarrhoea and vomiting.