THE Countess of Chester Hospital has warned its A&E is currently very busy, as ambulances have been seen queuing for hours outside the department.

The hospital is urging residents only to attend A&E if they have a life-threatening emergency.

It comes as one resident – who did not wish to be named – told The Standard their 88-year-old relative endured a nine-hour wait in an ambulance on Wednesday this week.

The resident added there were 15 ambulances waiting in the queue, with ambulance staff unable to take a break as they had to stay with their van and patients.

Patients were forced to wait in ambulances as there was a shortage of beds available, the resident added.

The 88-year-old was eventually transferred into a bay at 3am the following day.

Posting on social media earlier today, the hospital said: "If you’re unsure which NHS service you need or need expert health advice, visit NHS111 online or call NHS 111.

"Keep A&E free for those who need it most."