WYRE Forest residents are being asked not to go to Accident and Emergency (A&E) unless "absolutely necessary" as NHS chiefs look to ease pressure on Worcestershire's health service.

The district's clinical commissioning group (CCG) and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, who run the county's A&E departments at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester and The Alexandra in Redditch, are urging the public not to attend A&E unless they have a "serious or life threatening condition".

Patients are being encouraged to contact their own GP in the first instance or dial 111 for advice and support about alternative services.

Ruth Davoll, urgent care lead for the county's NHS CCGs, said: "We are seeing an increase in pressure across the whole health system. More than ever, we need to make sure emergency services are free to help people with the greatest need.

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

"Patients with a wide range of minor injuries which do not require a visit to A&E, such as cuts, wounds, sprains, strains and minor burns, can also be treated at the minor injuries unit at Kidderminster Hospital."