Health bosses are urging people to choose the right NHS service for their medical needs this winter.
The number of people attending A&E and calling 999 for an ambulance is growing each year, with hospitals, GP surgeries and walk-in centres getting particularly busy during the colder months.
Each winter Wigan A&E is overwhelmed with patients at times, some of whom would be better receiving treatment elsewhere.
North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which provides some health services in Wigan, wants people to help relieve that pressure by choosing the right place for help.
Louise Johnston, head of adult community services (physical health), said: “With the festive season fast approaching, it’s really important to choose the right health service this winter that can best support you and your family. You can help yourself to stay well by keeping warm, having your flu jab if eligible, eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids.
“If you do become unwell, it’s essential you know what to do and which service will ensure you have a speedy recovery. Walk-in centres are there to provide an important service to the community but they cannot do it alone. If you are unsure of the best option, contact NHS 111 for advice.”
The trust says the best choice for minor illnesses and injuries is treatment at home, with over-the-counter medicines and plenty of rest.
People who need medical advice and are not sure what to do can call NHS 111 or go online to www.111.nhs.uk.
Pharmacists can offer healthcare advice, as well as help to decide if people need to see a doctor. GPs can help people with an illness or injury that will not go away and long-standing conditions, while walk-in centres provide consultations, advice and treatment for new minor injuries and illnesses.
Patients should only go to A&E or call 999 for life-threatening situations and emergencies, such as choking, chest pain, severe difficulty breathing, blacking out and blood loss.