NHS Cheshire and Merseyside reports most challenging week of winter

NHS services across Cheshire and Merseyside are experiencing their most challenging week of winter yet – with a number of local hospitals particularly stretched.

A number of hospital Accident and Emergency Departments (A&E) across Cheshire and Merseyside are currently experiencing very high levels of demand, with the colder weather leading to rising levels of ill health, and high levels of norovirus, covid and flu circulating.

As staff continue to work through this busy winter period, people across Cheshire and Merseyside are also being urged to consider their options when seeking urgent care, and to do their bit to help keep hospital Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments free for those who need them most.

Dr Fiona Lemmens, Deputy Medical Director for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside said:


“The NHS in Cheshire and Merseyside has tried and tested plans to help manage these periods of high pressure, and ensuring safe care for patients continues to be our first priority.

“We are working closely with local NHS Trusts and other partners across health and social care to make sure that all possible capacity is effectively utilised, in order to help reduce delays to care.

“Hospital staff are continuing to work exceptionally hard through this busy period, to ensure people get the treatment they need as quickly as possible – but will always prioritise those with the most serious clinical needs first.

The public can also play their part by taking simple measures to stay well this winter, such as getting winter vaccines when invited, keeping warm, staying active, supporting the timely discharge of loved ones, and by choosing the right service when they need help or advice.

“Please remember that A&E should only be used for life-threatening illnesses and injuries. For conditions which are less urgent, please use NHS 111, or consider visiting a local pharmacy, urgent treatment centre or GP practice for support instead.”

Local NHS services will be using their websites and social media channels to provide up-to-date information to the public – so please check before you attend. 

The NHS 111 service can also help signpost people to where they can get help if they aren’t sure where to go. It’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 You can call NHS 111, go online or use the NHS App to: 

  • Find out where to get help for your symptoms
  • Get general health information and advice
  • Access a repeat prescription or arrange for an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
  • Arrange for an urgent appointment at a pharmacy, urgent treatment centre, GP, or hospital A&E
  • Get an emergency dental appointment

More information about when to call 999 and when to go to A&E is available via the national NHS website

Hear from Dr Fiona Lemmens on the challenges in a short video below: