Health bosses across Warwickshire are strongly urging people to help A&E departments cope with extra demands by not turning up unnecessarily this winter.
Last weekend saw an almost 60 per cent increase in the number of people visiting A&E with minor injuries or complaints, which could have been treated by visiting a pharmacy, self-care or calling 111.
Winter is typically an extremely busy time for health services, in particular A&E departments.
Certain long term conditions can be exacerbated by cold weather and flu circulating in the community with more time spent indoors in close proximity to others providing a breeding ground for viruses.
Helen Lancaster, director of nursing for SWFT, said: “All health services are under more pressure over winter so we want people to think before they go to A&E or call 999.
“These services need to be free to deal with real emergencies and should only be used in genuine emergency situations.
“These kind of serious accidents and emergencies that should be treated at A&E include unconsciousness, heavy blood loss, suspected heart attacks, strokes and broken bones.”
Dr David Spraggett, chairman of the CCG, said: “Those with cold and flu symptoms or symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting, should visit their pharmacist who will be able to advise and offer appropriate medication.”
The NHS 111 telephone line can also provide advice.