Under pressure doctors fear they could face extra strain after patients were told to stay away from the nearest accident and emergency unit.

Patients have been told to find alternatives to Colchester Hospital’s A&E unless they have a real emergency because it has been dealing with 20 per cent more cases than normal in the past three weeks.

Dr Shane Gordon, leader of North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you don’t have an emergency, critical or life-threatening problem, then please use the alternatives to the hospital."

Full story in today's Halstead Gazette.