If you need additional assistance reading our website please use our accessibility tool.


Dr Jo Hughes tells us first hand why it’s so important not to ‘just turn up’ at A&E, especially during Covid19

Tuesday, 22 September, 2020
Dr Jo Hughes tells us first hand why it’s so important not to ‘just turn up’ at A&E, especially during Covid19

I’ve been a doctor for 21 years and now I work in the emergency department at Cramlington.

Working on the NHS frontline is always challenging especially on A&E which is designed to treat the most serious, life threatening conditions. We see some of the most unwell patients at a time when they are often vulnerable and frightened so it’s important that we can treat them as quickly as possible.

Covid19 has of course put even more pressure on the NHS and it was fantastic to see the public getting behind us so much, in a way that protected our services for those who needed them the most.

Bu now we’re seeing A&E coming under increasing strain as people start going back to their old habits and not always using emergency services in the right way.

Because of the need for social distancing between our patients and to allow staff to work safely it means that the amount of space available to care for people has been reduced by as much as 50 per cent.

To help everyone get seen in the best way we’re asking people to do their bit by thinking pharmacy, GP and 111 first, and please, please don’t just turn up to A&E.

The winter months are always much busier for emergency departments and this year we are facing the additional challenge of Covid19.

During the winter more people get ill and need hospital treatment which can put a real strain on the whole NHS system. This is because of colder weather making symptoms worse and seasonal illnesses like flu making more people unwell or complicating their existing medical conditions.

You can help me and my colleagues protect the NHS by thinking about the following things:

  • Unless it’s a medical emergency you should always try to make an appointment with your GP.
  • Your local pharmacist can offer help and advice on a wide range of health issues.
  • For help and advice when it’s not an emergency please call 111 or check 111 online.
  • Get your flu jab.
  • Follow all the latest guidance to prevent the spread of Covid19 by washing your hands regularly, practicing social distancing and wearing a mask in enclosed public spaces, including taxis
  • If you have symptoms, self-isolate and get tested.


So please #DoYourBit and help us all get through this winter together.