DOCTORS are backing a new campaign to reduce pressure on Wirral’s over-stretched Accident and Emergency unit.

Despite repeated and well-publicised pleas in recent weeks, one in four people attending Arrowe Park Hospital's A&E unit has no need to be there.

The “Choose Well” drive aims to raise awareness that there are many other local NHS services that can be used rather that attend A&E.

Medics say many injuries and illnesses can be treated with a well-stocked medicine cabinet.

The message is that the casualty department should be reserved for genuine emergencies only.

Dr Abhi Mantgani chief clinical officer of NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We have a number of great alternatives in Wirral that means you don’t always have to choose A&E.

“We have local walk-in-centres and minor injury units, not to mention all the local pharmacies that are able to give expert advice without an appointment.

"It really doesn’t have to be A&E.

“NHS teams are working extremely hard – but people don’t seem to be getting the message that A&E and 999 services are for emergency and life-threatening conditions.

"We still have a situation where one out of every four people turning up at A&E just don’t need to be there.”

“We are fully behind the Choose Well campaign.”

Dr Abhi Mantgani continued: “We have to make sure that A&E and 999 services are free to treat people with life-threatening and serious conditions, such as heart-attacks, strokes and serious accidents.

“At the moment we are seeing a rise in the number of people either calling 999 or going to A&E because of breathing problems.

"More than ever, we need to make sure that emergency services are free to help people with the greatest need.”

“If we can get more people to care for themselves when they have common complaints such as backache, minor sports injuries, stomach upsets and coughs and colds, this will go some way to easing the pressures on our emergency services.”

Local high street pharmacies can help deal with minor illnesses and complaints such as coughs, colds, flu, stomach upsets, aches and sprains.