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Healthcare professionals at Bradford Royal Infirmary and Airedale General Hospital have issued an urgent plea to residents to only use emergency departments if absolutely necessary in the face of significant demand.

With the Christmas festivities coming to an end, an already busy NHS is gearing up for additional demand as people seek help for conditions they may have picked up over the Christmas and New Year. This is resulting in significant delays in care for people using accident and emergency (A&E) departments at both hospitals leading to the call for the public’s help.

The hospitals are warning people to be prepared to wait for a number of hours if they come in seeking help for routine or non-emergency issues that could be seen elsewhere such as by a pharmacist or by using NHS 111.

People are being advised to use NHS 111 online ( to check their symptoms and accessing the service they are prompted to use. People can also call NHS 111 if they are unable to use online services or lack the confidence to do so.

Karen Dawber, Chief Nurse at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said “Our A&E departments are seeing a significant level of demand on top of already record-breaking figures for A&E and 999 call outs in recent months. Many of those people don’t need to be treated in an emergency department. This makes it much harder for our teams to care for those patients who really do need emergency medical treatment. So you should only come to A&E if you truly need emergency treatment.

“We know that when you’re faced with a situation where you or a loved one is unwell, it’s not easy to understand how to get help. If you need urgent help but it isn’t an emergency, please use NHS 111. If you can access the internet then the online option will be best suited for you by visiting, otherwise please call the service on 111 and a trained advisor will help you. For more routine issues such as hangovers or an upset tummy please use your local pharmacy.”

The plea comes as the latest figures from NHS England, released in December, show that NHS staff answered the highest number of 999 calls for any November on record, an average of around one every three seconds, new figures revealed today.

It was also the second busiest November on record for A&E with more than two million patients seen at emergency departments and urgent treatment centres. That was up by half a million on the same time in November 2020.

To get health advice and support when it is not a life or limb threatening emergency visit or call NHS 111.

Here’s a short video clip from Alex Danecki, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Airedale Hospital, highlighting the pressure on emergency departments and what you can do to help ease this: