Watford General Hospital’s A&E department is turning away patients with ‘minor ailments’ until at least 3pm today.
The problem began yesterday after West Herts NHS Trust posted a statement on its website, saying: “The Accident & Emergency department at Watford Hospital is unprecedentedly busy in the post-holiday period.
“To ensure our emergency care team are able to treat seriously unwell patients, we have taken the decision to stop treating adults with minor ailments.
“All patients arriving at A&E will be seen by a clinician, but if it is judged that their condition is not serious, they will be advised where else to receive treatment.”
The trust says children’s services are unaffected, but patients being turned away have ‘a range of options’.
They will have to travel to the Urgent Care Centre at Hemel Hempstead Hospital, which is open 24/7, or the Minor Injuries Unit at St Albans Hospital, which is open from 9am to 8pm.
Patients from the Pinner and Northwood area can visit the Minor Injuries Unit at Mount Vernon Hospital, which is open from 9am to 8pm.
The trust also ‘encourages’ people to consider going to their GP, their local pharmacy or call NHS 111 for advice.
The trust said: “We will reassess the situation throughout the day and into the evening and aim to reopen adults’ Minor Injuries as soon as it is safe to do so. “We apologise for any inconvenience. Patients who have paid for parking will be refunded.”