PEOPLE are being urged to only visit Macclesfield Hospital's accident and emergency (A&E) department if absolutely necessary due to high demand.

The hospital’s A&E services have become very busy in recent days, partly due to a high volume of seasonal illnesses currently in circulation.

As a result, East Cheshire NHS Trust is reminding people that A&E should only be used for major, life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, persistent, severe chest pain, breathing difficulties and severe bleeding that cannot be stopped.

Trust chief executive John Wilbraham said: “We are currently seeing a very high volume of patients attending our A&E department and this is creating significant challenges for our services.

“That is why it is vital that the only people coming in to A&E are those who really need to.

"We are asking people to save A&E for emergencies and instead consider options such as local pharmacies, GP surgeries and NHS 111 for less urgent health issues.”

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can advise you on the best local service for the care you need.

East Cheshire NHS Trust’s GP Out-of-Hours Service can also be used for assessment, advice and treatment as required for urgent healthcare problems that cannot safely wait until your GP surgery is open.

The GP Out-of-Hours Service can be contacted by telephone via NHS 111.

For more information, go to

Local pharmacies can also offer help, advice and treatment for lots of common conditions.

A list of local pharmacies across Eastern Cheshire and their opening hours can be found at

More information on how to stay well during winter, including information around eligibility for free flu jabs, can be found on the NHS Choices website.