HEALTH bosses have issued a renewed plea for people only to use hospital Accident & Emergency departments in serious or life-threatening situations.

The appeal has been made as A&E units at Airedale and other hospitals face soaring demand.

NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – with its counterparts in Bradford – is urging people to "choose wisely" when deciding what health service to use.

It says anyone attending A&E will be triaged and then cared for in a timespan governed by severity, so less-urgent cases could face a considerable wait.

Dr David Tatham, a GP and the clinical lead for urgent and emergency care at the CCGs, said: "The demand for services at our hospitals and A&E departments is very high at this time of year and we need to make sure only the people needing emergency medical help attend.

"Teams at Airedale General Hospital and Bradford Royal Infirmary are working incredibly hard to deliver high-quality patient care and we want to ensure our A&E departments are there for those people most in need.

"We can all do our bit to ensure we don't put unnecessary pressure on our hospitals and emergency services such as the ambulance service."

Despite previous pleas, people are still turning up at emergency departments with minor injuries that could be treated by an alternative NHS service or even through self-care at home.

Stacey Hunter, chief operating officer at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, echoes the appeal.

She said: "Members of the public can help by only using A&E for a genuine emergency such as severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding, serious head injuries and broken bones.

"People who feel they need urgent medical advice or treatment, but don't have a life-threatening problem, should seek advice from NHS 111,, from their pharmacist or GP. This then enables our emergency department team to focus on our most poorly patients."

The CCG says common winter ailments will get better on their own and there is no prescribed medication that will clear them up any quicker.

Pharmacists can provide expert advice on health conditions such as diarrhoea, a runny nose or a painful cough or headache.

It adds that ailments such as colds, sore throats, headaches, upset stomachs, coughs, aches, pains and winter vomiting should be treated at home, or with the advice of the pharmacist, with painkillers, rest and plenty of fluids.

Details of GP surgeries and pharmacies can be found at

For more advice about caring for yourself or someone at home with a common illness, visit

Pharmacy opening times can be found at