BOSSES at the Countess of Chester Hospital have warned of “longer than normal” waiting times in A&E as winter illnesses pile pressure on the health service.

They are urging people only to attend the accident and emergency department if their condition is serious.

A spokesman said on the hospital trust's website: “We are extremely busy at the moment and patients will face longer than normal waiting times in our Accident and Emergency department.

“Please know our amazing staff are doing everything they can to limit delays, but they are having to prioritise emergencies over other ailments.”

For information about alternatives to A&E and things people can do to help themselves at home visit…/winter-wellbeing.aspx  

Residents are also being asked to make use of the 111 NHS non-emergency number, which is “fast, easy and free”.

The spokesman said: “Call 111 and speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you.

“NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.”

More information about NHS 111 is available at