DOCTORS are calling on people to help ease pressures on NHS services over Christmas and the New Year.

The festive period is traditionally a very busy time for the NHS and residents are being reminded they can health advice from pharmacists.

Commissioners said pharmacists can give people treatment advice if they're suffering a minor illness or injury.

Dr David White, clinical lead for urgent care at East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “Our pharmacists are highly trained medical professionals who can provide free advice on the best treatment for a wide range of illnesses and minor injuries and should be the first point of call for any minor illness.

"Our urgent care departments should be left free for serious accidents and life-threatening illnesses."

People can also ring 111 for help and advice on where to go and who to see if they are feeling unwell.