MORE people are attending A&E when it is unnecessary, according to health bosses.

Health chiefs said that patients could be better treated away from Royal Blackburn Hospital, as they try and reduce winter pressure on its emergency department.

Bosses at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust and East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said that a range of health services are available to people other than attending A&E such as pharmacists and the NHS 111 service.

They also said that making an avoidable visit to the emergency department takes hospital teams away from their role which is to help those with life threatening conditions.

Dr David White, clinical lead for urgent care at East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen CCGs, said: “The demand on our emergency departments is increasing putting added pressure on the service.

"This means it is essential that everyone thinks carefully about which is the right NHS service for them. There are often better alternatives than sitting in urgent care for hours on end which can help people get the right treatment more easily and quicker.

“We obviously aren’t telling people who are in need of urgent medical attention not to attend our emergency departments but ask people to consider whether they actually need to go or could be seen and treated elsewhere.

“Pharmacists, and the NHS website are all excellent alternatives that people can contact should they need any advice on things such as coughs, colds, vomiting and minor ailments.

"Pharmacists are experts in medicine and can offer expert help with common complaints and advise when symptoms are more serious that a GP visit maybe necessary.”