NHS bosses in York urge people to avoid A&E if they have minor illnesses or ailments that could be treated elsewhere.

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said choosing the right service will ensure patients receive the best possible treatment, while freeing up busy NHS services to help those who most need them.

Dr Andrew Phillips said: “A&E departments are often seen as the first place to go, when in fact there are other NHS services that may be more suitable, such as your local pharmacy, walk in centre or GP.

“Pharmacists can help with a range of common conditions and minor injuries, and many are open until late and at weekends. If you need medical help fast but it’s not an emergency, you can call NHS 111, which is a free service and can quickly direct you to the right service. It also ensures that the 999 number is kept free for very serious emergency medical cases.”

The range of local health services in the Vale of York area include self-care for very minor problems, talking to your pharmacist for advice, booking an appointment with your GP or calling GP out odd hours if you need urgent medical care. The out-of-hours period is from 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays and all day at weekends and on bank holidays.

Alternatively NHS 111 will offer advice on where to go for the right treatment. Call 111 to speak to an advisor.

The Urgent Care Centre is for minor illness or injury that requires urgent attention or advice and is situated at the A&E Department at York Hospital, Wigginton Road, York YO31 8HE. The Urgent Care Centre is open 8am to 6pm, seven days a week. You don’t need an appointment and will be seen by an experienced NHS nurse.

If you have a critical or life threatening problem such as difficulty breathing, broken bones or chest pains A&E and 999 services should be used.