HAMPSHIRE hospitals are urging residents with minor injuries or illnesses to seek alternative treatment after a very busy period.

Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester and Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital have asked anyone suffering with colds, sore throats or upset stomachs to take care of themselves rather than visit hospital.

It follows a busy period at both hospitals, run by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), where a number of patients did not need to attend.

Norovirus is also still common in the area and sufferers are asked to avoid A&E because of the highly contagious nature of the illness.

Residents are advised to keep a basic self-care kit at home with plasters, painkillers and antiseptic creams.

Local GPs and pharmacists can also help with common illnesses and the best medication to use.

There is also a minor injuries unit at Andover War Memorial Hospital open seven days a week from 8.30am-9.30pm for minor cuts, fractures and strains.

Donna Green, HHFT chief nurse, said: “People with minor injuries and illnesses should use one of the many alternatives to A&E – and chances are they will be seen more quickly. “A&E should only be used for genuine medical emergencies, such as major injury, severe blood loss, chest pains and loss of consciousness. This means that medical resources are directed at those that need them most, when they need them most.”

For more information on healthcare options visit hampshire.nhs.uk/index.php/local-services38/choose-well.