Health chiefs are urging people to make ‘sensible choices’ and only attending hospital if they have a real emergency.
Karen Partington, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive, said: “Our teams work hard to ensure patients are treated in the most appropriate way according to their condition.
“The rising number of people going to the Emergency Department means those with more series conditions such as heart attacks and strokes can often wait longer there, due to high levels of demand.
“One way the public can help is to consider whether a trip to the emergency department is absolutely necessary, or whether they should seek help from other healthcare services first, such as their pharmacist, GP or local walk-in centre.”
As clinical commission groups are soon to take over the responsibility for commissioning local healthcare from primary care trusts, they are working closely with local communities and health providers such as local GP surgeries, hospitals and the community to improve understanding around which services should be used when.
Jan Ledward, NHS Greater Preston and NHS Chorley and South Ribble Commissioning Group chief officer, said: “Our hospital A&E teams deal with some of the highest numbers of people who have life-threatening conditions such as heart-attacks, strokes and lung disease in the country. We need to make sure we can concentrate on helping these emergency cases.”