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.
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.