Our emergency care service provides urgent care to around 170,000 patients a year.
There are 24-hour emergency care centres in North Tyneside, Wansbeck and Hexham general hospitals which assess and treat patients with a wide variety of serious injuries or illnesses. You should either visit the centres or call 999 for emergencies such as:
- Loss of consciousness
- Pain that is not relieved by simple analgesia
- Acute confused state
- Persistent, severe chest pain
- Breathing difficulties
We also have minor injury units that are open 24-hours a day in Alnwick, Berwick, Haltwhistle and Rothbury community hospitals. Blyth Community Hospital minor injury unit is open Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm. We are currently planning to build a new specialist emergency care hospital in Cramlington - read about the developments.
Emergency care centres
Patients may come into our emergency care centres in an emergency ambulance, referral from GP or other healthcare professional or by self-referral.
Our emergency departments can be very busy at times so please be patient - our emergency care staff will be busy treating patients who may be seriously ill but will try and see you as quickly as they possibly can. We do see the vast majority of our patients within four hours and this will be much sooner for our most seriously ill patients.
If you arrive by ambulance you will be assessed by a nurse or doctor on arrival and either placed on a trolley within a private bay in the main area of the department, or asked to wait in the waiting room to be seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner.
If you walk into the department you will be assessed by a nurse in the triage room and either placed on a trolley within a private bay in the main area of the department or be asked to wait in the waiting room to be seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner.
Once you have been seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner you will have any investigations that you need and will either be discharged home, kept in an observation area for a short time or admitted to a ward.
Minor injury units
Patients attending the minor injury units usually self-refer unless ambulance personnel think your injury or illness can be dealt with at the minor injury unit. The units are run by nurse practitioners who have had specialised training in the assessment and treatment of minor injury and illnesses.
The units can deal with non-life threatening injuries and illness such as lower and upper limb injuries, wounds, minor burns, coughs, colds, ear problems, sore throat and insect bites.
Once you have been assessed you will have any necessary investigations and either discharged with advice or referred to one of the emergency care centres at our general hospitals for further assessment and treatment.
Within Alnwick and Berwick minor injury units there is also an out-of-hours GP facility. If you need this between 6.30pm and midnight then dial the out of hours number on 0845 6080320.
Acute medical units
These specialised areas of our general hospitals are where patients suffering from acute medical illness such as chest pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetic emergencies, and gastrointestinal problems can be assessed and initially admitted after being seen in the emergency care centre. If you are admitted to our acute medical units you will be seen by an acute care consultant who will decide on the most appropriate specialist department for you to be seen by following your assessment. Patients normally spend between 12-48 hours on the unit before being admitted to a specialty ward or discharged from hospital.
Our emergency care centres are run by highly skilled specialist consultants who are trained to deal with acute illness and injury. Our acute medical units are also staffed by highly skilled consultants who are experts in starting the treatment once you are admitted to hospital.
- Nurses working in emergency care are highly experienced in dealing with acute illness and injury.
- Other members of the clinical team who you may see are senior doctors, junior doctors, physiotherapists and nurse practitioners.
- Support staff includes healthcare assistants, support workers, receptionists and porters.
You can contact our accident and emergency departments through our switchboard 0344 811 8111. View more information on how to find our hospitals.
Alnwick and Berwick minor injury units also have an out-of-hours GP facility. If you need this between 6.30pm and midnight then dial the out of hours number on 0845 6080320.
You may feel that your illness doesn’t need a trip to hospital but want a bit more advice. Please look at our out of hours section for more information on where to get healthcare locally before 9am and after 5pm.