PATIENTS in Worcestershire are being urged to think twice before going to A&E.

Experts from NHS England in Worcestershire are saying many people visiting A&E for medical treatment or advice would be better served with another service such as their GP, pharmacy, NHS walk-in centres or the NHS 111 service.

Medical director for NHS England in Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Dr Martin Lee said calling 111 in the first instance is the best course of action for those unsure of what service they needed.

“Pharmacies can give advice on common illnesses and provide advice on the most appropriate way to treat them,” he said.

“For persistent illnesses people should make an appointment to see their GP.

“By using NHS services properly A&E departments can be reserved for those in need of urgent, life saving care.

“By getting to the most appropriate place when they first become aware of their symptoms patients will give themselves the best chance of making a full recovery.”

The message comes as part of NHS England’s ‘The Earlier the Better’ campaign, working to encourage people – especially those aged 60 and older – to visit their pharmacist for free advice as soon as they feel ill to avoid unnecessary stays in hospital.