If you end up with a sprain, strain or broken bone this Easter bank holiday you can avoid the emergency room and head straight for your nearest Minor Injury Unit (MIU) or Urgent Care Centre.

Cornwall's NHS provider has reminded the public that many injuries - whether from an over-enthusiastic tackle in the park or a touch of DIY gone wrong, doctors and nurses can provide treatment far quicker than at accident and emergency.

Dr Alison Flanagan, a GP and NHS Kernow governing body member, said: “The bank holiday is a time to relax and have fun but if you or a family member should fall ill or have an accident health services will be available.

“Once again we’re appealing to anyone who needs help to use the right service and keep the emergency department free for urgent and life-threatening care only.

“Help yourself, and the NHS, and use the right service this weekend. By choosing well people will spend less time waiting to be seen and make sure the emergency department is available for those who urgently need it.”

There is a 24-hour Urgent Care Centre at West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance and a Primary Care Centre at Camborne Redruth Community Hospital, open from 8am to 10pm.

Minor injury units in Stratton, Launceston, Liskeard, Bodmin, Newquay, St Austell, Falmouth, Helston, and St Mary's on the Isles of Scilly community hospital treat cuts, burns, sprains, broken limbs and strains, as well as many minor illnesses.

There is also a minor injury unit at Stennack Surgery in St Ives (TR26 1RU) which is open 10am to 4pm on Good Friday and Easter Monday. Call 01736 793333 for more details.

Visit cornwallft.nhs.uk/hospitals for opening hours and waiting times.

Pharmacists can also give confidential expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints, such as allergies, minor cuts, bruises and skin conditions, and arrange an urgent prescription for a supply of any prescribed medicines that run out.

And NHS 111 also provides 24-hour expert non-emergency medical help, including when your GP surgery is closed.

Public Health England is also urging people in the South West to take some simple steps to avoid illness this Easter.

Petting farms can be a popular attraction, and the health service hs issued some simple steps to avoid catching any bugs: advice

< >Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after you have touched animals, fences or other surfaces in animal areas. Do not use gels or wipes, they do not remove the germs found on farmsWash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating or drinkingRemove and clean shoes that might have become soiled and clean pushchair wheels and then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and waterAvoid putting hands on faces or fingers in mouths while petting animals or walking round the farmDo not allow children to kiss farm animals or put their face close to animals.Do not swim if you have had symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting in the last two weeksAlways shower before entering and after leaving the swimming pool.

Pete Smith, Lead Health Protection Practitioner for PHE South West said:

“Thousands of people in the South West will visit a petting farm or swimming pool this weekend and the number of people who become ill is proportionally very small. However, many cases of illness could be avoided by practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding attractions if you are ill.

“We know that many animals can carry parasites and germs that affect young children such as E.coli O157 or cryptosporidium and evidence shows those cases can peak in the spring.

“People may be tempted to use hand gels and wipes during a farm visit and after touching animals, but although they remove visible dirt and contamination, they may not be effective in removing the germs found on farms.

“Washing hands thoroughly with warm water and soap is the most effective way to remove these germs.

“By following our advice, we hope families in the region can avoid illness and enjoy a fun Easter weekend”