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


Emergency department under ‘severe’ pressure in face of record numbers

Monday, 08 July, 2019
Emergency department under ‘severe’ pressure in face of record numbers

The emergency department at The Northumbria hospital in Cramlington is now facing record demand for its services – with long waits inevitable for non-urgent cases

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has today asked for the public to think carefully before attending the emergency department at The Northumbria hospital in Cramlington. The number of people doing so has now hit record levels – far in excess of even winter pressures – with long waits expected for people who do not need urgent or life-saving care.

“It’s vital that people understand the emergency department is designed for people in need of the most urgent or life-saving care – it isn’t meant to be a walk-in for any and all ailments,” said Dr Jeremy Rushmer, executive medical director at the trust.

“If people need help but it’s not urgent or life threatening then they should seek alternative options such as a pharmacy, their GP or our urgent care centres and minor injuries units. These services often have much shorter waits and deliver the same outstanding care; including tests and x-ray.

“Our staff do an amazing job dealing with the demands placed upon them but we really need the public’s help.

“People must understand that if they continue to attend the emergency department with non-urgent conditions than it is inevitable that they will face a very long wait as we will always prioritise patients based on clinical need.

“So before you turn up please ask yourself: is this really an emergency that needs to be dealt with immediately?”

Year on year the trust has seen an extra 13,651 patients between January and June – an increase of 13.7%. As a result, and despite 11,273 more people being seen within the four hour target, performance has slipped slightly; though the trust continues to be one of the best performing NHS organisations in England.

On a daily basis, Northumbria staff are having to deal with patients arriving for emergency or urgent care that really do not require treatment in an emergency department; anything from bruises through to minor bites. This doesn’t just mean a long wait for yourself but also impacts negatively on the care everyone else receives.

Jeremy continued: “While NHS services are busy throughout the year we would expect demand to drop slightly in the spring – this simply hasn’t happened this year, for us and many organisations across the country.

“It’s not sustainable for our team in the emergency department to continue to deal with these high numbers of people who could receive care elsewhere. Please do help us by using alternative services where appropriate to enable us to focus on those who need our help most – patients who are in urgent need for life-saving care.

“Thank you.”

Media contact:

Elliot Nichols

0191 203 1512 / 07966 490736