HALTON people in need of hospital treatment are being urged to think about their options before heading to Accident & Emergency as the last resort.

The advice, from Halton Clinical Commissioning Group, comes at a busy time for health service staff.

A spokesman for the group said: "Your local NHS is asking patients to think about their options before heading to Accident & Emergency as the last resort.

"Our local doctors and nurses are really busy at the moment looking after lots of very sick people so think about your options before heading over to Warrington Hospital.

"If you need urgently need medical help or advice but its not life threatening, then ring 111.

"Community Pharmacies can help with lots of minor illnesses. To find your local Pharmacy https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-pharmacy/"

Halton Residents needing a routine appointment after 6.30pm midweek or at the weekend are being urged to use GP EXTRA. The service, at Heath Road Medical Centre Runcorn or the Healthcare Resource Centre Widnes, through your own GP.

Urgent Care Centres have a wide range of services that mean you don’t have to visit A&E. The Runcorn and Widnes centres usually have much shorter waiting times than A&E and are open 7am – 10pm, seven days per week.

The nearest urgent care centre alternative to Warrington Hospital's A&E is Runcorn and a free shuttle bus runs between the two hospitals.

The CCG statement continued: "Patients can be treated at the urgent care centre for almost everything that is non-life threatening including: Sprains, strains, suspected broken limbs, minor head injuries, cuts and grazes, bites and stings, minor scalds and burns, ear and throat infections; skin infections and rashes eye problems, coughs and colds, feverish illness in adults and children, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea and emergency contraception.

"But, if the situation is a life-threatening accident or emergency then A&E is the right place to go.

"A&E should be the last resort to ensure that we are able keep the service free for those whose lives depend on it."