PATIENTS are being urged to use their health services ‘carefully’.

People feeling unwell are being asked to contact a pharmacist for advice as early as possible, to stop conditions from becoming more serious later on.

They are also asked to use emergency departments only when absolutely necessary.

The plea, issued by the trust that runs Morecambe Bay’s hospitals, came after it was revealed patients are still suffering from norovirus at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

The public are being asked not to visit any hospital if they have suffered from, or been in contact with anyone suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting in the past 48 hours.

“Winter is an extremely busy time for hospitals right across the country, especially emergency departments,” said Dr Paul Grout, clinical director for acute and emergency medicine at the trust that runs Morecambe Bay’s hospitals.

“Both Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital have experienced extremely high numbers of attendances at their emergency departments and our doctors and nurses are urging the public to seriously consider whether or not they need these emergency lifesaving services before attending.”

For advice patients can use the NHS '111' service which is free to call.

The 111 adviser will be able to:

* decide what medical help you need

* tell you where you need to go to get this medical help

* transfer your call to the service you need

* book an appointment for you

Simply dial 111 at any time day or night or visit NHS 111 at