PATIENTS are being urged to take advantage of minor injuries and GP services amid an increasing number of admissions at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

NHS Forth Valley is asking people in the wider area to make more use of minor injuries units, GPs and pharmacies to avoid putting additional pressure on the hospital.

The increasing numbers are only partly down to more patients being treated for coronavirus, explained the health board.

It said most of the recent admissions include people with other health conditions who require urgent care and treatment.

Andrea Fyfe, director of acute services at NHS Forth Valley, said: "Over the last few weeks we have seen a significant increase in the number of patients who have had to be admitted to hospital for urgent care or treatment.

"While most of these cases are not related to coronavirus, like other hospitals across the country, we are also seeing an increase in the number of patients who have tested positive for Covid-19, including some patients who require intensive care.

"These increased admissions, on top of the ongoing work to re-schedule many of the operations, scans and treatments which were paused earlier in the year, means that all areas of the hospital are currently very busy."

Alternative services to the hospital include the Minor Injuries Assessment (MIA) service, which can be contacted on 01324 566 130 each day between 9am and 9.30pm.

Through the service, anyone who needs to be seen is given an appointment so they do no have to wait when they attend, reducing overcrowding.

GPs are open with health advice and treatment via phone and video consultations.

Pharmacies are also equipped to provide free treatment for a wide range of common conditions.