Health chiefs have urged people in Helensburgh and Lomond to use health services appropriately as winter starts to bite.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde says people can stay safe by using its health services wisely.

A survey of adult emergency departments (EDs) within Greater Glasgow and Clyde has revealed that many patients are regularly presenting with minor illness or injury.

The top ten illnesses that don’t require a trip to A&E includes cold symptoms, nasal congestion or a simple sore throat; skin complaints such as acne, eczema or athlete’s foot; cold sores, warts or verrucae; period pain; earache; haemorrhoids (piles); hay fever or mild allergies; head lice and scabies; mouth ulcers, dental pain and thrush.

Alastair Ireland, emergency department clinical director at Glasgow Royal Infirmary said: “We are all aware of what a precious resource our NHS is and we need to use it wisely, and that is particularly important in winter.

“Those with serious or life-threatening illness and injuries will always be given priority, meaning those with less serious issues may face longer waits.

“We really need patients to carefully consider the best place to be if they are unwell.

“We’ve come up with a list to give patients some guidance on when it’s correct to seek emergency treatment and when it’s not. Hopefully it means that they seek advice from the correct place, meaning they are treated quicker elsewhere, allowing us to concentrate on what we should be treating – real emergencies.”

The Vale of Leven Hospital’s minor injury unit is open from 8am until 9pm every day and can treat cuts and grazes, insect bites, minor burns, sprains and strains, limb injuries like a broken ankle, broken wrist etc and foreign bodies in ears or up noses.

However, they are unable to treat more serious conditions such as major injuries, poisoning, fever, breathing difficulties stomach pains, vomiting or diarrhoea, rashes or allergic reactions.