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Leighton Hospital bosses are appealing to residents with non-serious conditions to seek other services and relieve “under pressure” A&E department

Local NHS organisations have launched a drive to make sure Crewe and Nantwich residents know about services available if they fall ill or have an injury.

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, NHS South Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Vale Royal CCG are reminding people that A&E services are for potentially life-threatening emergencies and serious conditions.

Those attending A&E unnecessarily are likely to experience long waiting times while  increasing demand on services, they have warned.

Chris Oliver, chief operating officer at Mid Cheshire Hospitals, which manages Crewe’s Leighton Hospital, said: “Emergency Departments across the country, including our own, continue to be under a lot of pressure.

“We have been working closer than ever with our healthcare partners to ensure that services continue to run as smoothly as possible whilst ensuring that patients’ needs continue to be met.

“NHS staff across the region are working very hard to achieve this and I’d like to thank them for their ongoing care and compassion.

“The public can also support us by warding off any common illnesses before they become more serious, as well as making full use of alternative community services.”

Dr Andrew Wilson, GP and chair of NHS South Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “By knowing more about the different health services available and what they offer, you can get yourself and your family the right treatment much faster.

“As a GP, I know when my practice is closed or busy, some of my patients aren’t sure what to do when they need immediate health advice or care, but it’s not a 999 emergency.

“There are a range of alternative services available locally.

“By phoning NHS 111, patients will still be able to speak to a GP or other clinician whenever they need to, and they will be able to get the care that they need.

“NHS 111 can also advise you on your nearest pharmacy.”

NHS 111 is free and gives confidential guidance and advice 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Those who call will be assessed by trained advisors and clinicians before being directed to the most appropriate local service.

Community pharmacies are available seven days a week for advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses, like coughs, colds, aches and pains.

The NHS Choices website, www.nhs.uk, has information about services in the area which can be searched by entering a postcode.

It also has information and advice about how to take care of yourself if you have a common complaint.

For more information on winter health, go to www.nhs.uk/winterhealth

Generally, people should call 999 and attend A&E if someone has stopped breathing or their heart has stopped; the person is experiencing severe chest pain or is having trouble breathing; there is severe bleeding from any part of the body; the person is, or has been, unconscious.

Cuts, bruises, sprains, coughs and colds are not normally emergencies. They can usually be treated at home, by your GP or in an NHS walk-in centre or a minor injuries unit.

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