Hospital bosses say they are working closely with commissioners and community healthcare providers to ease the pressure on Wigan’s A&E department.
And they are encouraging people to choose the right place for treatment for minor ailments, so doctors and nurses can focus on the most poorly patients.
“Our emergency department has experienced unprecedented demand in recent weeks and months.”Andrew Foster
It comes as Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust continue to ask the public not to visit Wigan Infirmary’s A&E unit unless they are seriously ill or have a life-threatening emergency.
There has been a “significant increase” in the number of people visiting A&E in the past seven months - rising by 6.7 per cent from 50,072 patients between November 2014 and May 2015 to 53,410 in the following year.
The temporary closure of Chorley And South Ribble Hospital’s A&E department was one factor in the increase.
The introduction of NHS 111 and a drop in the number of patients using GP out-of-hours services were also thought to have contributed.
Andrew Foster, chief executive of the trust, said “Our emergency department has experienced unprecedented demand in recent weeks and months.
“The increase in attendance is around 20 patients per day and is caused by a number of factors, only one of which is the temporary changes to Chorley Hospital.
“We are seeing around five additional patients from the Chorley area a day, which is only a quarter of the increased number of people attending our department.”
People can still attend A&E for serious medical emergencies, such as chest pain, stroke, severe abdominal pain, severe bleeding, severe breathing difficulties, major broken bones and serious head injuries.
Other people are encouraged to access support from alternative sources, such as the walk-in centre in Leigh, pharmacies and out-of-hours GP service.