People told to avoid 'over capacity' A&E services at two Merseyside hospitals

"This is the most challenging week of the most challenging winter we've had to date."
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The A&E departments at some hospitals across Merseyside and Cheshire are operating 'at or over capacity' and people have been urged not to attend unless it is absolutely essential.

The colder weather has led to rising levels of ill health and high levels of norovirus, COVID-19 and flu means hospitals are currently experiencing very high levels of demand.

In particular, people have been asked to only attend Southport or Whiston hospitals A&E departments in emergency and life-threatening cases.

Dr Peter Williams, medical director at Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust, told BBC Radio Merseyside: "This is the most challenging week of the most challenging winter we've had to date.

"Both of our A&E are at the highest level of escalation which means they are at or over capacity. Our wards are full and its put extreme pressure on all of the hospital but that has been felt particularly in the A&E departments at both of the hospitals."

People attending the A&E departments at Southport or Whiston hospitals with minor injuries will face long delays and are urged to use the 111 service, Walk-In Centres, GPs and Pharmacists as alternatives.