MANY people are attending Barnsley Hospital's accident and emergency department for non-emergencies, a study has revealed.

The study - commissioned by the Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) - took place from April 2012 to March 2013 and evaluated data from almost 80,000 patient visits.

During January 14 to February 14 of this year, a questionnaire was also handed out to people attending the emergency department and 951 were completed by patients.

Of this, only 22 per cent of patients considered their condition to be an emergency.

As expected, high users of the emergency department were children 0-5 years old (11.6 per cent), and people aged 65 and above (20.9 per cent).

An interesting group to emerge from the data were young men aged 19 to 21 years who accounted for 13.3 per cent of patients.

Dr Nick Balac, local GP and chair of Barnsley CCG, said: "This research is very useful in helping us to understand why the emergency department is so busy and we need to find more ways to let people know about the other services available in the borough.

"We have recently introduced Saturday opening in some GP surgeries and are in the process of rolling out a GP telephone appointment service which will make it easier for people to get to see their GP.

"The emergency department should only be used in the case of a serious or life-threatening situation and people should choose to either treat their own minor injuries or use more relevant services available."