HEALTH bosses are urging residents to use local Minor Injury Units (MIU) this winter - instead of struggling A&E departments.

Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, which runs the Princess of Wales, is encouraging anyone with a minor injury to attend an MIU rather than visiting accident and emergency.

The units can treatment a range of minor injuries including cuts and grazes, sprains, strains, fractures and minor burns.

Located in Bromsgrove, as well as Malvern, Evesham, Tenbury and Kidderminster, the county’s minor injury units are open every day, including the festive bank holidays.

Dawn Shaw, minor injuries team lead for Bromsgrove, said: “The staff at our Minor Injury Units are trained nurses who have knowledge and skills to deal with a range of minor injuries.

"Often people wait hours in A&E with a minor injury which could have been treated at one of our Minor Injury Units and with pressure on emergency departments greater this time of year, we are urging people to really think about what the most appropriate options are.”

Dr Jules Walton, divisional medical director for urgent care at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The county’s five Minor Injuries Units offer patients convenient, timely, expert medical advice on a wide range of injuries and mean that our A&E colleagues can really focus on treating patients with urgent, life threatening issues.

"In our hospitals we are working hard on our HomeFirst Worcestershire plan which is prioritising how we can ease pressures on our busy A&E departments. Using Minor Injuries Units and other available healthcare services appropriately is a positive way that our local residents can support us with this.”

In addition, for minor illnesses residents should visit their local pharmacy.

As qualified healthcare professionals, pharmacists can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, aches and pains, tummy trouble and ear ache.

Many pharmacies offer extended opening hours in the evenings and at weekends. Some are open until midnight or even later, even on public holidays.

MIU opening hours at the Princess of Wales are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday to Sunday noon to 8pm.