People across north east Essex are being asked not to go to the Accident and Emergency Department at Colchester General Hospital unless they have a serious or life-threatening emergency.
Dr Shane Gordon, Chief Operating Officer at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester General Hospital, said: The number of people who have visited our A&E this winter has risen, putting pressure on the hospital.
Compared to last winter, A&E attendances are up by 17% which means an extra 2,900 people have used the service. It s equivalent to 50 to 60 more patients a day than this time last year.
Several patients who visited the department have presented with minor injuries that could have been treated more appropriately and faster at an alternative NHS service which is why the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging the public to choose their health services wisely and to think twice before they go to A&E.
The region s ambulance service is also urging people to use 999 wisely following another spike in demand.
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) received more than 85,000 calls last month, compared with just over 72,000 in February 2015. The surge in demand has continued into March with the service taking more 999 calls last Sunday (6th March) than New Year s Eve/Day, which is traditionally the busiest day of the year.