A campaign has been launched by the district's GPs to raise awareness of options available to the public in health emergencies.

It follows concern that many people were attending accident and emergency departments when they should have used another service.

The campaign will see posters, leaflets and adverts appear across the district to spread the word about the range of treatment options on offer to patients.

Alternatives to A&E include the out-of-hours GP service, pharmacists and NHS Direct.

Dr John Parry, from Holycroft Surgery, in Keighley, who chairs the Airedale GP Alliance, said: "It is important that people are seen by the most appropriate health professional to help them get the best care to meet their needs, as quickly as possible.

"People are currently not using our excellent primary care health resources - such as the out-of-hours GP service - to their full potential as they may be unsure of what services are available and how to access them. This campaign is designed to inform the public.

"If people visit A&E when it is not necessary this not only wastes NHS money but diverts those skilled in dealing with genuine accidents and emergencies, such as heart attack and trauma victims, from doing their job - which could put lives in danger.

"Patients could potentially face up to a four-hour wait to be seen at A&E at certain times.The aim is to try and help all patients get the fastest, best possible treatment. The last thing we want to do is persuade people to stay away from the health service but our resources are not unlimited and they need to be used most sensibly."