DOCTORS are urging people to “think carefully” before going to Airedale Hospital’s emergency department.

The plea has been issued after a surge in numbers attending the A&E unit at the Steeton site and in the run-up to the second bank holiday weekend in May.

“Over the last two months the number of patients seeking treatment at our emergency department has increased considerably,” said Dr Richard Keeble, Airedale’s clinical director for emergency medicine.

“The most urgent and life-threatening cases take priority, which means that unfortunately people coming in with less-urgent issues are experiencing longer waiting times.We’re asking everyone to think carefully before coming to A&E.”

He added: “Members of the public can really help by making sure if they do choose to attend A&E for treatment, that it is the best place for them to get the right care.

“Our emergency department is for accidents and emergencies only, such as severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, significant head injuries or broken bones.Using an alternative to A&E when you aren’t seriously ill – such as calling NHS 111, consulting your GP or visiting your community pharmacist – could mean that you end-up waiting less time to receive care.”

The message is supported by Dr Dave Tatham, a GP and the strategic clinical director at NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group.

He added: “For health needs that are not a life-threatening emergency but are urgent, or if you’re unsure what to do, NHS 111 will be able to advise you or direct you to the most appropriate part of the health service – including booking an appointment if necessary. Go online, at, or call 111 to speak to a fully-trained advisor on the phone.

“You can also check symptoms and find out what to do and when to get help using the NHS website. It can find services near you, such as local pharmacies – which can offer advice for common health problems like sore throats and headaches, aches and pains, bumps and bruises or sickness and diarrhoea.”