Only go to A&E for serious health emergencies, urges health trust
People in Northumberland and North Tyneside are being asked to only go to their local A&E for serious health emergencies.
Wansbeck, Hexham and North Tyneside general hospitals – like all other hospitals in the region – are experiencing significant pressures in A&E this week which has resulted in long waiting times for patients.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospitals, is calling on the public to help and asking people only to attend A&E or use the 999 service for serious health emergencies. These include:
A major accident
Severe chest pains
Severe blood loss
The trust is also appealing to people who do go to A&E to be patient as due to the unprecedented demand there will inevitably be a delay for those cases which are not life-threatening or serious.
The trust is also reminding people that GP practices in Northumberland and North Tyneside are only closed on January 1. They are open on Friday January 2 with some open on Saturday January 3 – check with your GP practice for details.
If you need medical advice call NHS 111. They can advise on alternative local NHS services available. If NHS 111 gives you advice, then please follow it – by doing this you are helping the NHS make the best use of resources.
If you are normally healthy and have a winter illness such as a cough or a cold, then visit your pharmacist for advice and stock up on over the counter medication.
For a guide to self-care go to http://www.keepcalmthiswinter.org.uk/self-care-advice/
Dr Derek Thomson, medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our A&Es at Wansbeck, Hexham and North Tyneside general hospitals are experiencing unprecedented demand and have been over the last week and we need to make sure that only the people who need emergency medical help attend.
“We’re calling on the public to help us make sure that NHS services are available for those people most in need by thinking about what other local NHS services might be better placed to help them. By doing that it will mean that 999 and A&E stay free for those more in need of emergency care.
“Our staff are working extremely hard to see to people in A&E as quickly as possible however we would appeal to people to be patient as urgent cases will take priority and there will inevitably be a delay due to the high volumes of people accessing the service.
“We would also like to remind people that their GP practice is open every day except New Year’s Day with many practices having kept appointments available for this week, expecting a huge demand. There are also walk-in services open and NHS 111 can give quick advice.
“Most normally healthy people with a winter illness do not need to see their GP, do not need to attend A&E and absolutely do not need to call 999. Colds, sore throats, head-aches, hangovers, upset stomachs, coughs, aches, pains, and winter vomiting should all be treated at home or with the advice of your local pharmacist, with pain killers, rest and plenty of fluids.
“By doing this not only are you helping to reduce the spread of winter viruses to other vulnerable patients in NHS waiting rooms – you are also keeping appointments available for people who have serious health conditions that must see a doctor or nurse, or have severe or life threatening conditions that need emergency care immediately.”