NHS Ayrshire and Arran are urging people not to attend A&E this winter unless absolutely necessary.

With the cold snap only just around the corner, bosses in the national health service believe it’s important that those who need really need the attention and treatment of staff are seen to as a priority over those whose issues aren’t as serious.

An NHS Ayrshire and Arran doctor has urged people to stop and think before attending the Emergency Department (ED), as it may not always be the best place to treat certain conditions.

Dr Crawford McGuffie, Joint Medical Director and Emergency Department Consultant, said: “As we move into the winter months, our Emergency Departments are at their busiest.

“However, we know that some people who attend our EDs would receive more appropriate and quicker treatment elsewhere.

“So, we are asking members ofthe public to stop, think, and ask ‘Is it an emergency?’ If it is an emergency, come straight to the Emergency Department.

“That way we can ensure that our Emergency Departments are there for those who need it most – those with life-threatening emergencies, and injuries.”

For those who do attend one of NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s Eds and their condition does not meet the requirements of the service, they will be redirected to a more appropriate area.

These include NHS24, GP surgeries, emergency dental service, pregnancy services and sexual health services.

Joanne Edwards, Director for Acute Services, adds: “We want to make sure that the right patient is seen at the right place at the right time with the right clinician.

“Our key message is to let people know the most appropriate time to visit an ED, and what are the available alternatives. “It’s your Emergency Department. Please use it well.”