ACCIDENT and emergency departments at Dorset's hospitals are facing 'increased pressures' ahead of the weekend.

Emergency departments at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Poole Hospital and Dorset County Hospital have been particularly busy this week, prompting NHS bosses to ask residents to help ease the strain.

A Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) spokesman said: "With this in mind, we are reminding people to use the right NHS service for their needs. This can help to free up emergency services for people who really need them, and could mean you get the right care more quickly.

"Dorset’s NHS services are here to help you if you become hurt or unwell, and range from over 150 pharmacies across the county – for help with colds, coughs and headaches, for example – to and minor injuries units and the urgent treatment centre in Weymouth for sprains, strains and other non-life threatening conditions."

Local GP practices may also be able to offer out-of-hours appointments, which can be booked directly through NHS 111.

You can also call NHS 111 if you are not sure where to go, or if you need advice – or visit the StayWell Dorset website for more information at