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Northumbria reminds public about changes to emergency care

Wednesday, 13 January, 2016
Northumbria reminds public about changes to emergency care

With winter one of the busiest times for the NHS, people in Northumberland and North Tyneside are being reminded about recent changes to emergency care and urged to use the right service for the severity of their symptoms.

The public are being reminded that the new Northumbria hospital in Cramlington is for those who are most seriously ill or injured with most patients arriving by emergency blue light ambulance or after being referred as an emergency by their own GP.

People with less serious problems are being urged to use the 24-hour urgent care centres at Wansbeck, North Tyneside and Hexham hospitals where they will be seen much sooner for walk-in treatment.  People should not attend the Northumbria hospital for minor problems which are most effectively dealt with in urgent care centres or other parts of the NHS.  NHS 111 is free to call and available 24/7 for urgent medical advice on where to go for the most appropriate help.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is also reminding people that for problems which are not urgent, for example if they have had symptoms for a number of weeks, that their GP practice should be their first point of contact.  GPs will refer patients for the most appropriate treatment by the relevant specialists.  

Dr Jane Weatherstone, associate medical director primary and community care, at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “The demand for NHS services always increases in winter and as this is the first year of our new model of emergency care, we are reminding people where to go to for the right treatment.  By using the right service, people will be seen much sooner.

“Our Northumbria hospital is for those who are most seriously ill or injured and these patients arrive with us by emergency ambulance or GP referral. People with less serious problems who can ‘walk-in’, should go their local urgent care centres at Wansbeck, North Tyneside and Hexham general hospitals rather than attending The Northumbria.

“Urgent care centres are open 24/7 and people will be seen much sooner as they will not have to wait behind serious emergencies.  Experienced nurse practitioners are on-hand around the clock to treat people and get them home as soon as possible.

“We would also ask people to consider whether hospital is the most appropriate place for what’s wrong with them – throughout the year, GPs should remain residents’ first port of call for most medical problems and local pharmacies are also a good source of advice.

“If you need advice on where to go to access urgent medical help, it’s worth remembering that NHS 111 is open 24/7.”

The new hospital, widely heralded as being at the forefront of the NHS, has exceeded expectations in terms of clinical outcomes for patients. This is largely a result of quick decision-making from emergency medicine consultants who are on site 24/7 providing senior clinical input and specialists working seven days. Timely results of tests and scans which are now rapidly available, means that consultant specialists can start treatment straight away and this has also resulted in fewer emergency admissions overall. 

For more information about the changes, visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk.


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