Public urged to think carefully before attending the Royal Oldham A&E department as staff deal with high numbers and IT issues

Date published: 24 May 2022

The public in Oldham are being asked to help the local NHS by thinking carefully before attending the A&E department at the Royal Oldham Hospital.

Staff at the department are currently very busy and need to treat those with life-threatening and critical illnesses and injuries.

If you have an urgent medical problem and are not sure what to do, visit NHS 111 online.

In addition to high numbers of patients being seen at the A&E and longer than normal waiting times for those with minor ailments and conditions, staff are also dealing with the ongoing IT issues affecting the hospital and its sister sites at Bury and Rochdale.

The Royal Oldham Hospital, Fairfield General Hospital in Bury and Rochdale Infirmary, which are run by the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust (NCA), as well as North Manchester General Hospital (run by MFT), have been experiencing IT issues since last Wednesday (May 18), which is causing some disruption to services, and is being carefully managed to limit the impact on patients.

However, because the hospitals are now needing to use paper processes and records this is slowing down some services and creating some delays.

Hospital appointments, whether planned surgery or an outpatient clinic, are running as normal.

Patients should attend unless they are contacted directly by the Trust and told otherwise.

Dr Chris Brookes, Deputy CEO and Chief Medical Officer for the Northern Care Alliance NHS Trust, said: “We are still working hard to resolve the significant IT issues that have been affecting some of our digital systems at our hospitals at Oldham, Bury and Rochdale, as well as North Manchester General Hospital.

"Salford Royal is unaffected.

“This means that our clinical teams are continuing to rely on our robust contingency plans for such critical incidents.

“Patient safety and maintaining essential services remains our priority. 

"We are doing everything we can to fix the IT issues and to limit disruption to patients and our services.

"However, unfortunately some patients may experience some delays and additional waiting across some of our services such as outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests or scans.

"We apologise for this. 

“All patient records and personal data held by the NHS and Trust remains secure and unaffected.

“Patients who have a hospital appointment whether for planned surgery or as an outpatient should continue to attend unless they are contacted directly by the Trust and told otherwise.

“Our Emergency Departments are particularly busy at the moment.

"For those who feel they need to attend our emergency departments, they are likely to be waiting longer than normal if they have minor ailments.

"We are asking the public to think carefully before attending.

"We would, as always, recommend that you contact NHS 111 or seek advice from your local pharmacy or GP.”

For minor illnesses and ailments, you can check which service is right for you by calling NHS 111 or going online to the NHS 111 website.

The NHS 111 telephone advice service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Calls to the service are free from landlines and mobile phones.

Do you have a story for us? Want to tell us about something going on in and around Oldham? Let us know by emailing , calling our Oldham-based newsroom on 0161 633 2121 , tweeting us @oldhamchronicle or messaging us through our Facebook page. All contact will be treated in confidence.

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