Health advice is issued as A&E feels the winter strain

Watford General Hospital.
Watford General Hospital.

Hospital chiefs have issued a ‘think twice’ call to try and reduce the strain aafter a rise in the number of patients turning to hard-pressed A&E staff for help.

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust has seen a sharp increase in A&E patients at Watford – particularly on Mondays and Tuesdays and during early evenings.

The health advice comes after the trust missed the national target for A&E waiting times during the week ending December 1. The government says 95 per cent of patients should be seen within four hours, but the trust managed 93.7 per cent.

However, it did beat the target in the three previous weeks with 97 per cent, 95.5 per cent and 95.6 per cent.

A spokesman said: “Watford hospital’s A&E department is for people with serious and life-threatening injuries and illnesses. People who need urgent, non-life threatening medical help should call the NHS number 111 for advice. Alternatively, they can visit Hemel Hempstead’s urgent care centre – open 24 hours a day – or the St Albans minor injuries unit, open 8am to 8pm.”