Winter pressures – Information and advice for the public

Like the rest of the NHS, our A&E departments at The Royal Oldham Hospital, North Manchester General Hospital and Fairfield General Hospital in Bury are experiencing increased pressure and demand for its services. Patients are reminded to only attend A&E for serious or life threatening conditions so the department can be kept free for those who really need it.

At the first sign of a winter illness, even if it’s just a cough or cold, get advice from your pharmacist, before it gets more serious. Act quickly. The sooner you get advice from a pharmacist the better. Pharmacists are fully qualified to advise you on the best course of action. This can be the best and quickest way to help you recover and get back to normal. If you can’t get to a pharmacist yourself, ask someone to go for you or call your local pharmacy.

Pharmacists can offer advice and over the counter remedies for many common winter illnesses and local people are being reminded to stock up their cupboards with medicines over winter. More advice on staying well this winter can be found here.

There are also resources, including symptom checkers, available to help the public decide what service is the best one to treat them. These include the Choose Well website, NHS Choices website, and the NHS 111 telephone advice service, which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls to the service are free from landlines and mobile phones.

To find a doctor or dentist visit a surgery of your choice and ask to be registered, visit the NHS Choices website or call NHS 111 for more information, help and support.

Dr Chris Brookes, Group Chief Medical Officer for the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (Salford Royal and Pennine Acute Hospitals), said:

“To help our staff who are working very hard in our A&E departments, I would urge the public to think carefully about which is the correct service to use for their condition. Our A&E doctors will be prioritising and treating those patients who require emergency and urgent care with critical and life-threatening conditions such as major trauma and fractures, accidents, head injuries, heart attacks, stroke, and those who need urgent abdominal and orthopaedic surgery.

“We continue to work with our health and social care partners across our localities including colleagues in primary care, community and social care services to help the flow of patients in and out of our hospitals including those who can be safely discharged to the community or back to their own home.

“We are working hard to minimise any disruption to planned non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments. If we do decide to delay and reschedule any non-urgent operations such as hip or knee replacements, we will inform our patients as soon as possible, and alternative appointments will be booked in due course. Patients should assume their appointment is going ahead unless they hear otherwise.”

You can find out more on our website homepage at and on Twitter at