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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
James Holt

At least TEN ambulances pictured waiting outside 'extremely busy' Greater Manchester hospital as trusts across the region warn of long waits

At least TEN ambulances have been pictured waiting outside 'extremely busy' Bolton Hospital tonight - as trusts across Greater Manchester continue to warn of long waits at A&E.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said the emergency department was experiencing 'extremely high levels of activity' this evening (Wednesday), with waiting times expected to be at least four hours.

Elsewhere in the region, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust warned of 'very busy' emergency departments, with A&E only for 'serious and life-threatening conditions'.

There were similar scenes just days before Christmas, with patients urged to 'think twice' before attending A&E at Royal Bolton Hospital, as the trust admitted mounting pressures ahead of the ambulance service strike on December 21.

READ MORE: North West Ambulance Service issues plea for patients to seek online help instead of calling 999

One independent doctor told the Manchester Evening News Bolton Hospital's A&E department was 'the busiest' they had ever seen it on Wednesday night, with patients on trolleys 'left in admin areas' and 'in hallways' - and sluice rooms needing to be used.

Pictures showed at least 10 ambulances waiting outside, just hours after the trust warned that non-urgent patients would face 'extremely long waits'.

Ambulances wait outside Royal Bolton Hospital on Wednesday night (December 28) (Vincent Cole - Manchester Evening News)

"The number of people attending our Emergency Department is really high and we are working through everyone who needs our help as soon as we possibly can," the trust said on Wednesday. "People who do not have an urgent need will experience extremely long waits while we treat the people who need us the most."

It continued: "No matter how busy our Emergency Department is, the most seriously ill and injured patients will always be seen immediately. If you choose to visit us and do not need urgent or emergency treatment, you will be safely supported to access an alternative service."

Life-threatening emergencies include severe chest pains, difficulty breathing, stroke symptoms, severe tummy pain or headache or a young child who is very unwell.

Bolton Hospital said A&E was 'extremely busy' with long waits of at least four hours expected (Vincent Cole - Manchester Evening News)

Earlier on Wednesday, the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) said that as the first day back after the Christmas break for most people, it remained a 'traditionally extremely busy day', with those in non-life threatening situations urged to instead contact 111 or their GP for advice.

And on December 27, NWAS urged the public again to seek online help instead of calling 999 in the event of needing 'urgent medical help', and reminded the public that dialling 999 'does not guarantee that you'll receive an ambulance, or that you'll be seen at hospital any faster'.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust has been approached for comment.

Read more of today's top stories here.


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