HEALTH bosses are urging people with minor illness or ailments to avoid clogging up accident and emergency departments over the festive period.

You should only attend A&E or ring 999 for serious or lifethreatening conditions, while minor problems can be treated in community hospitals.

Advice under the NHS ‘Choose Well’ initiative includes:

Visit apharmacy for advice on common winter illnesses;

Treat your cold or flu at home with over-the-counter medicines – see your GP if symptoms persist;

NHS Direct offers health advice 24 hours a day on 0845- 4647 or;

Make an appointment to see your GP or call the Somerset Out of Hours Emergency Medical Service on 08454-088000;

Yeovil Health Centre, on the top floor of Boots, in Middle Street, is open 8am to 8pm through Christmas and the New Year, for people needing medical assistance quicker and it provides emergency contraception and sexual health advice and treatment;

Visit one of the 12 community hospital minor injury units in Somerset if your injury is not serious, including those at Minehead, Chard and Bridgwater.