HIGH demand on hospital accident and emergency services has prompted a new plea from regional health chiefs.

NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board is reminding people only to use A&E departments in genuine emergencies.

Dr James Thomas, the board's medical director, says: "Accident and emergency departments across the region are experiencing extremely high levels of patient need, well above the seasonal average.

"People attending A&E with injuries or conditions that aren’t serious or life-threatening may have to wait a long time to be seen.

"Health and care services are here to help and even during times of significant pressure we still encourage people to come forward and not to delay if they're concerned about their health. However we want to ensure the public is using the right services and knows when to go to a pharmacy, or use NHS 111 or a GP practice, rather than emergency services.

"There are steps we can all take to make sure we use the most appropriate service for our needs and relieve pressure on our busy health services. If you do become unwell, visit togetherwe-can.com or 111.nhs.uk for advice. The expert team will be able to help you get the care you need."