Royal Bolton Hospital has been forced to issue an urgent plea to the public after around 100 people were believed to have turned up to A&E yesterday seeking coronavirus (COVID-19) tests.
Health officials confirmed that the hospital’s A&E department is “currently very busy”.
Dr Francis Andrews – Medical Director at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust – said: “We are extremely busy in our emergency department as a result of [rising infection rates]. Only attend this department if you have experienced a life threatening accident or illness and need urgent medical attention.We need to keep people safe, and having limited numbers in this area is key to this.
“Nearly 100 people have attended the department in recent days requesting a COVID test.”
He added: “We are seeing more people being admitted with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as a result of the very high rate of infections in Bolton.
“This is not a shift we want to see.
“The situation at the hospital is under control and we were well prepared for this. However the rate continuing to rise is of concern, and we continue to urge the people of Bolton to consider others when making decisions that could jeopardise their safety.”
Bolton NHS also took to Twitter yesterday evening to ask that members of the public refrain from using A&E facilities with the intent of requesting COVID-19 tests and instead visit “gov.uk or call 119”.
In response to the situation, Professor Donna Hall – Chair of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust – also said on Twitter: “Very busy emergency department today as poorly people unable to get a test come to us for help. This is why it’s so important to have a functioning testing and tracing system – one day of delays can cause hundreds more infections.
“This is a very worrying situation for us in Bolton.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 The World Tonight yesterday, she added: “We had 100 people in our accident and emergency unit today, five ambulances queuing outside. This failure of the test and trace system is placing huge pressure on the NHS and social care.”
It comes after an increase in demand for tests over the past few weeks has led to local shortages – particularly in Greater Manchester – with some people being directed to test sites hundreds of miles from their homes.
Addressing the situation in the House of Commons, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the system is facing an “enormous challenge” after a “sharp rise” in those seeking a test. He admitted that there were a number of current “operational challenges” with the testing process, which the government was “working hard” to fix.
He continued: “I don’t deny that it is an enormous challenge and when you have a free service it’s inevitable that demand rises.
All tests in Bolton must be booked in advance and there are no walk-up or drop-in testing sites.
Cllr David Greenhalgh – Leader of Bolton Council – commented: “We need Bolton to be prioritised with extra testing capacity. Two new test centres have opened in the borough with another to open in the next day or so, but we are seeing overwhelming demand for appointments, and residents consistently unable to access that extra capacity through the nationally run booking scheme.
“This is not acceptable, and we are asking the government to give us additional tests through the national portal for our symptomatic residents.”
Bolton still has the highest infection rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, with 189 new positive tests registered for every 100,000 people over the last week.
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.
Police search for Moors murder victim Keith Bennett resumes as ‘skull is found’
Police are back searching for Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett after a skull was reportedly found.
12-year-old Keith was snatched by notorious serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964.
The pair’s victims were five children, Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, all aged between 10 and 17 years old at the time of their murder.
The victims were buried on Saddleworth Moor, but Keith’s remains have never been found.
Now a major breakthrough may have come from an author, Russell Edwards, who alerted police to ‘potential human remains in a remote location’.
Specialist GMP officers have now begun initial exploration activity but say it is ‘far too early’ to confirm if human remains have been discovered.
Officers have also updated Keith’s brother Alan Bennett, who was just eight years old when his sibling vanished and who has dedicated much of his life to solving the mystery of the missing body.
MP Force Review Officer Martin Bottomley said: “At around 11.25am on Thursday 29 September 2022, Greater Manchester Police was contacted by the representative of an author who has been researching the murder of Keith Bennett, a victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
“Following direct contact with the author, we were informed that he had discovered what he believes are potential human remains in a remote location on the Moors and he agreed to meet with officers yesterday afternoon to elaborate on his find and direct us to a site of interest.
“The site was assessed late last night and, this morning, specialist officers have begun initial exploration activity. We are in the very early stages of assessing the information which has been brought to our attention but have made the decision to act on it in line with a normal response to a report of this kind.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been discovered and this is expected to take some time.
“We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family. As such, we have informed his brother of the potential development – he does not wish to be contacted at this time and asks that his privacy is respected.”
A further GMP statement published by the Manchester Evening Newsadded: “We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family.
“Officers met with Mr Edwards yesterday evening (29th September) and he was able to locate a site of interest and provide us with further details of the work he has been carrying out.
“We are at the very early stages of assessing the evidence which he brought to our attention, but have taken the decision to excavate an area of land with a view to determining what lies there.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been uncovered, but out of respect for Alan Bennett, who we regularly maintain contact with, we have informed him of this potential development.
“Alan does not wish to be disturbed at this time and we would ask that his request for privacy is respected.”
Featured image: GMP
Question Time audience stunned as first-time buyer says mortgage quote DOUBLED
Thursday night’s Question Time audience could be heard audibly gasping after a fellow crowd member revealed that her mortgage quote had doubled followed the recent mini-budget.
Taping in Manchester on 29 September, the current events and politics programme was discussing property when would-be first-time buyer Rabia revealed that her mortgage offer had jumped from an initial amount of 4.5% interest to a shocking 10.5% in just a matter of days.
As you can see in the incredible clip, both the audience and the panel are taken aback at the revelation.
The Greater Manchester resident said she is desperate to know what the government’s plan for mortgages is as following the latest revision, she says she simply cannot afford to put the money down on her first home.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed in on the social media reaction, quote tweeting the clip from his party’s own account and stating that “the Tories must get back to Parliament and reverse their kamikaze budget” as the current economic mess is being “paid for by working people”.
To make matters worse, Rabia was given no clarification from her lenders, only that they were pulling her offers. Conservative MP and Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Paul Scully had little information to offer her either, simply stating it is a short-term effect and that the market will stabilise.
Scully was subject to an entirely different reaction from the audience as well after his blind attempts to defend Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were met with laughter. Conversely, Richard Bacon was met with applause after he labelled the mini-budget “absurd”.
As if the anti-Tory sentiment wasn’t already at a high, the chancellor’s mini-budget – which saw the corporations, bankers and the generally wealthy benefit ahead of the working class – has seen fresh calls for a general election to be held as soon as possible.
Beyond declaring a so-called £2,500 limit on energy bills (which many have warned isn’t a guaranteed cap), there was seemingly very little in the way of policy that
For those still unclear as to what was announced in the divisive mini-budget, here is a quick summary:
Speaking in a speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Starmer said that the government “haven’t just failed to fix the roof, they’ve ripped out the foundations, smashed the windows and now they’ve blown the doors off for good measure.