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Don’t just turn up to A&E

Tuesday, 22 September, 2020
Don’t just turn up to A&E

With the number of COVID-19 infections rising in the community, people in Northumberland and North Tyneside are urged to #doyourbit to protect the NHS by keeping A&E free for serious emergencies.

NHS A&E departments are designed to treat the most serious, life threatening conditions, so Northumbria Healthcare are asking the public to think carefully before turning up.

Northumbria Healthcare are asking people to do their bit by thinking pharmacy, GP and 111 first, and not just turn up to A&E.

Those that do turn up to A&E may be turned away or redirected to other services.

A&E is coming under even more pressure than usual due to social distancing and infection precautions, which means the space available to care for people and allow NHS staff to work safely has been reduced by 30-50 percent.

Action is needed now to protect patients and staff alike from now and into the future.

The public are also being asked attend hospital sites on their own where possible to limit the number of people on site and reduce the risk of infection to other patients and hospital staff.

The Trust is also investing £1m of new Government funds to help change the layout of the Emergency Care Hospital at Cramlington to better segregate people and ambulance crews, avoid queuing and improve how patients are streamed to other services in light of social distancing.

Medical Director Dr. Jeremy Rushmer said: “It’s vital for patient and staff safety that people get the right advice and treatment, when and where they urgently need it. We are now putting in place new measures to help support the public to make the right healthcare choices.

“If their issue is not life threatening then we would advise patients to contact their local pharmacy, their GP or 111 online in the first instance.

“Many people who come into A&E could have been dealt with much more quickly and safely by an alternative healthcare service which also reduces the risk of transmitting Covid19 or flu. This will be even more important as we move into the busy winter period.

“This winter, more than ever, it’s vital that we don’t have large volumes of people in our surgeries, clinics and hospitals when they could have been cared for elsewhere.”

Because of the need to socially distance, hospitals have had to reduce space in waiting rooms. Around 50-70 percent of attendances at A&E are made up of patients who walk-in, the reduced space makes these walk in attendances difficult to manage.

By thinking of alternative services such as pharmacist, GP and 111 first people can do their bit to help stop the spread of Coronavirus, keep people safe and keep A&E for real emergencies.

The campaign is supporting a pilot scheme which commenced on 3 August by the NHS in the North Integrated Partnership (ICP) area (which covers Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland) before being rolled out across the region in September 2020.

NHS 111 Online has provided a fantastic service during the pandemic and is a hugely useful system for the public.  NHS 111 can make direct appointments at surgeries, pharmacies and urgent treatment centres. They can also send an ambulance for serious or life-threatening issues.