Fear over spike in Euro 2016-related violence sparks A&E plea

Hospitals throughout Lancashire are urging people to drink and behave responsibly during Euro 2016, and be mindful that A&E is for serious and life threatening emergencies only.

French police fire tear gas as they clashed with English football fans at The Queen Victoria pub in Marseille earlier this week (Pic: PA)
French police fire tear gas as they clashed with English football fans at The Queen Victoria pub in Marseille earlier this week (Pic: PA)

Domestic abuse, alcohol-related violent crime, and drink/drug driving all increase during major football tournaments, which mean more people than usual attend local hospital emergency departments.

The number of patients attending emergency departments across the country has been rising steadily in recent years and local NHS trusts throughout Lancashire, which have seen more people in their A&E departments in the first few months of this year than ever before, are currently experiencing increased pressure across the system.

More patients attended the A&E at Royal Preston Hospital and the urgent care centre at Chorley Hospital in May than in any previous month and the A&E department at the Royal Blackburn Hospital is currently experiencing a surge in attendances which is expected to remain this way over the weekend and into next week.

The A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital is also experiencing high demand and a recent survey found that more than 50 per cent of those attending could have avoided the A&E by attending the local walk in centres or even going to their pharmacist for advice first.

A spokesman for NHS Improvement said: “We’re monitoring the impact of the overnight closure at Chorley on other hospitals in the area.

"At present the impact is modest as only a few patients who would have been seen in Chorley are travelling to other hospitals.

“The trust is working hard to solve the problems it faces and we will continue to support it to ensure patients are provided with the best and safest possible care at all times.”

Blackpool Victoria Hospital is not seeing patients travelling from Chorley, a spokesman said.

The pressure all hospitals in the area are currently experiencing is a result of an overall increase in attendance across Lancashire, rather than a redistribution of Chorley patients, he added.

Rather than going to A&E, those with conditions and injuries that are not deemed serious or life-threatening should call the NHS 111 helpline, which is available 24 hours a day, or visit an out-of-hours GP or their local walk-in centre.

Pharmacists are also experts in providing medical information and advice, including coughs, colds, wheezing and minor ailments.

Visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk for more information on services in your local area