An awareness campaign advising patients where to access the healthcare they need has been launched in a bid to ease pressure on NHS services this winter.

All local residents are being asked to play their part by avoiding Accident and Emergency wherever possible.

Unless their condition is life-threatening, they are urged to visit their local pharmacy, dial NHS 24 on 111 or contact their GP for advice.

People are also being encouraged to log on to the NHS Inform website, where they can access a range of practical self-help guides.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has warned that, due to treatment backlogs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit-driven staff shortages and inflationary costs, the NHS faces its “toughest winter in history.”

He said: “I am under no illusion that this winter will be the toughest in the history of our great NHS, which is why I am pulling every lever at my disposal to help ease pressure where possible.

“This campaign will make it easier than ever to know where to go to get the right care in the right place – saving patients time and freeing up space in our emergency departments.”