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Local NHS leaders are reminding people to only attend A&E (accident and emergency) for serious injuries and life-threatening emergencies to help ensure that critical care is promptly provided to those who need it the most.

To help spread the message, a local advertising campaign has been launched by Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership promoting the use of the NHS 111 online service.  

For people that need medical help but not sure what to do or where to go, the NHS 111 online symptoms checker is a fast and effective way to help direct to the right place for treatment whether it be a GP, pharmacy, hospital or self-care.

The public reminder comes as Bradford Royal Infirmary and Airedale Hospital anticipate an increase in A&E attendances over the winter period. 

Saj Azeb, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re asking all patients to think carefully before coming to A&E.  Our dedicated A&E team is here to provide immediate care to those in critical need. By choosing wisely and seeking alternative care for non-urgent conditions, you not only help us ensure that everyone receives the timely attention they need, but also that we manage resources effectively.

“Members of the public can really help by making sure that if they do choose to come to A&E for treatment, that it is the best place for them to go to get the right care, as soon as possible.”

As part of urgent and emergency care national recovery plans additional national funding will also be provided to Airedale Hospital this winter to help meet the growing demand for urgent care services and improve waiting times.

Leanne Cooper, Chief Operating Officer at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust added: “Our Emergency Departments are extremely busy and are also impacted when we have industrial action taking place, so it’s incredibly important that people only come to A&E if they are seriously unwell or injured.  A&E is for accidents and emergencies only, such as severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, significant head injuries and broken bones.  

“Using an alternative to A&E when you aren’t seriously ill, such as calling NHS 111, consulting your GP or visiting your community pharmacist, could mean that you end up waiting less time to receive care.” 

If someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk, the NHS is advising on the importance to continue to come forward in the normal way – calling 999 or going to a local A&E department for emergency and life-threatening cases.