Long A&E waiting times at Barking, Havering and Redbridge Trust hospitals

Local health bosses are asking patients to re-consider visiting accident and emergency (A&E) this week.

Patients are currently experiencing long waits at Queen’s Hospital and King George hospital’s emergency departments.

A spokesman for Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust, said: “A&Es are always very busy at this time of year, and unless people have a life-threatening illness or injury, they will be seen much more quickly and appropriately elsewhere.

“Even if your GP surgery is closed, NHS Direct and out-of-hours GP services are available 24-hours a day. Walk-In Centres and Minor Injuries Clinics – such as those at Harold Wood, Loxford or Barking - can also treat a wide variety of problems without an appointment.”

The spokesman said that the increase in people visiting A&E at this time of year is due to a combination of factors including increases in flu and norovirus, people picking up infections when they are back at work or school, and GPs services being closed over Christmas.

The Harold Wood polyclinic, which was closed today because of a leak, should be open again tomorrow.

Have you been effected by the queues? Call our newsdesk on 020 8477 3796 or email ian.weinfass@archant.co.uk.