PATIENTS’ champion Russ McLean said he would oppose the idea of charging patients for some A&E visits.

In a national poll, a third of GPs said patients should have to pay for some visits to the emergency department, in order to reduce unnecessary attendances.

Many emergency rooms have been under severe pressure this winter due to high numbers of patients seeking care, especially at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, which has one of the busiest A&E units in the country.

But Mr McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group, said: “There are some patients who would be willing to pay but there are some who cannot afford it.

“I wouldn’t agree with charging, but we need people to think carefully before attending the emergency room.”

A Department of Health spokesman said there were no plans to introduce fees.