PEOPLE across Keighley are being urged to 'choose well' this winter.

Regional health chiefs are encouraging the public to only use hospital A&E departments in genuine emergencies.

NHS England in Yorkshire and the Humber reveals that 3.7 million visits a year to emergency departments are for self-treatable conditions such as colds, flu and colic.

It warns that as a result, staff have less time to deal with those who have life-threatening conditions or injuries.

Paul Twomey, medical director for NHS England North, said: "We want to make people aware that there are many places they can go to get their treatment.

"We are asking that people consider whether there is a service better suited to their needs than A&E.

"Think about using information on NHS Choices, calling 111 or visiting the local pharmacist for advice.

"Do consider these alternatives, as well as your GP practice, prior to attending A&E for something you may be able to treat more easily elsewhere or at home.

"Pharmacists can help you choose the right treatment for your ailment and can explain the normal duration of symptoms. They can also offer you help to stop smoking and manage your weight, as well as providing flu jabs and blood pressure checks.

"Many pharmacies are open during evenings and at weekends and an appointment is not usually necessary."