PEOPLE who suffer minor illnesses and injuries over the Easter break have been advised not to go to accident and emergency (A&E).

The advice was issued by Whipps Cross University Hospital to keep the department at the hospital from being swamped as doctors’ surgeries close over the weekend.

Patients in Redbridge were told to go to A&E only in critical or life-threatening cases and to use other services such as pharmacists and out-of-hours GP surgeries.

A spokeswoman for Whipps Cross said: “Most people who go to a hospital A&E could have been given advice over the phone or been treated much closer to home by a doctor, nurse or a pharmacist.

“If you need help there are a number of different options to try. However if the problem is critical or life threatening, please call 999 or go straight to A&E.”

Patients can also visit the urgent care centre (UCC) at Whipps Cross where they can be seen by one of the UCC team.

They may then be sent through to the main A&E department if their condition is more serious or complex.

They were also told to consult the NHS Direct helpline for advice by calling 0845 46 47 or visiting