SOUTHAMPTON'S biggest hospital has warned of a 12-hour wait at its A&E department.

In a statement published on Twitter, University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust said some people are facing a wait of longer than 12 hours. 

The emergency department is currently facing "severe pressure", the trust has said, but is prioritising urgent cases.

The trust says the Urgent Treatment Centre at Royal South Hants Hospital can treat minor injuries and illnesses with current waiting times of 90 minutes.

READ MORE: Nursing boss reveals pressure of latest Covid spike - and the problems it creates

Patients have been asked to "please choose the right service".

The statement said: "Our Emergency Department is facing severe pressure. While prioritising urgent cases, waiting times for some are currently over 12 hours.

"The Urgent Treatment Centre can treat minor injuries and illnesses with current waiting times of 90 minutes. Please choose the right service."

Last week, Gail Byrne, the trust's chief nursing officer, said the hospital had more than 100 patients with Covid, and that sickness rate among employees was spiking. 

Mrs Byrne said staff used to regard 380 attendances a day as "challenging" but were presently seeing as many as 450 people in some 24-hour periods.

It comes as health leaders across the county are appealing to communities for support. 

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB) has said that a medley of  rising Covid cases,  the ongoing heatwave, demand for health and care services, and other factors have have put pressure on teams across the county. 

Dr Zaid Hirmiz, GP and clinical director at Hampshire and Isle of Wight ICB said: "I cannot emphasise enough how hard colleagues across Hampshire and Isle of Wight are working together to ensure our patients continue being able to access the care they need when they need it.

“People can help by choosing the right service, keeping our Emergency Departments, ambulance service and urgent care appointments free for those who need them and considering where else they could get care whether that’s their local pharmacy, an online consultation through their GP practice or contacting NHS 111 online.”

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