Don't come unless it's a real emergency, KGH bosses say as A&E bursting at the seams
Patients have been warned they could face a six hour wait
People attending Kettering General Hospital's A&E department have been warned to only come if they have "very significant injuries or illness" as attendances soar.
At the weekend, a sign warned those coming to access the emergency service that they could be waiting for up to six hours for treatment and to use alternative services.
Emergency health bosses have urged members of the public to take time to seek advice from NHS 111 or contact their GP or visit the Corby Urgent Care Centre.
Usually seeing 255 patients per day, the hospital is now seeing more than 300 every day - an increase of 20 per cent - with the department bursting at the seams.
Kettering General Hospital’s lead nurse for urgent care, Ali Gamby, said: “We are extremely busy at the moment with more than 300 patients per day attending our A&E department.
“A significant number of attendances relate to people who would be better seen by other NHS services.
“Therefore we are reiterating our plea to local people not to attend A&E unless it a real emergency.
“We know that it can be frustrating accessing NHS services when they are all so busy but - because of that - the need for patients to choose care correctly has never been higher.
“We want to concentrate our efforts on supporting patients who have very significant injuries or illness and have often come to hospital by ambulance and really do need a hospital bed and specialist care.
“It would be very much appreciated if people could please take the time to seek advice using available alternatives such NHS 111 on line or by phone, using their local pharmacy for minor injuries and illness, or being patient and contacting their GP or Urgent Care Centre. Please be patient when accessing these services.”
The ageing Rothwell Road hospital sees more than double the number of emergency attendances than its A&E department was designed to cope with in 1994.
A sign attached to the doors of A&E earlier this week said: "A&E is currently extremely busy, please be aware you could be waiting for up to six hours. Please seek alternative services like the out of hours or NHS 111 if possible. Thank you."
In June, two MPs warned that plans for the once-in-a-generation rebuild of Kettering General Hospital could face a 'substantial delay' because of red tape over its funding streams.