UK Politics

Hospital in urgent plea for people not to go to ‘very busy’ A&E for COVID-19 tests

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Health officials have issued an urgent plea to stop the public going to the "very busy" Royal Bolton Hospital A&E department in the hope of getting COVID-19 tests.

The town in Greater Manchester has the highest coronavirus infection rate in England, with the equivalent of 192 new cases per 100,000 people recorded in the week to 10 September.

And in the last few days, nearly 100 people have turned up at accident and emergency wanting to be tested.

Officials said patients should only go there if they have a life-threatening accident or illness and need urgent medical attention.

Testing shortage to be fixed 'in weeks'

It comes as the government struggles to get to grips with soaring demand for tests in England.

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Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, tweeted: "A&E is currently very busy, managing a high volume of patients who have arrived requesting a #COVID19 test.

"Patients are requested not to turn up to the hospital."

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Dr Francis Andrews, medical director at the trust, said: "We are seeing more people being admitted with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as a result of the very high rate of infections in Bolton.

"This is not a shift we want to see. The situation at the hospital is under control and we were well prepared for this.

"However the rate continuing to rise is of concern, and we continue to urge the people of Bolton to consider others when making decisions that could jeopardise their safety."

Dr Andrews added: "We are extremely busy in our emergency department as a result of this increase. Only attend this department if you have experienced a life threatening accident or illness and need urgent medical attention.

"We need to keep people safe, and having limited numbers in this area is key to this. Nearly 100 people have attended the department in recent days requesting a COVID test."

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