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Plea from local NHS following busy bank holiday weekend

Wednesday, 03 May, 2017
Plea from local NHS following busy bank holiday weekend

Leaders at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust are urging people in Northumberland and North Tyneside to use NHS services wisely following a very busy bank holiday weekend.

Long weekends always result in busy times for the NHS and this weekend has been no different with high volumes of people accessing urgent and emergency care services.  Local GP services have also seen a surge in demand following the long weekend break.

The trust is reminding people that The Northumbria hospital is for serious emergencies only such as suspected stroke, loss of consciousness, persistent and severe chest pain, sudden shortness of breath, severe abdominal pain or severe blood loss. 

People attending The Northumbria with minor problems may be asked to consider using other more appropriate local services following triage and should expect a long wait at The Northumbria as clinical teams must prioritise those with time critical needs. 

Members of the public should think carefully before accessing NHS services and follow simple advice to help relieve pressures on busy frontline teams:

·         remember, many common illnesses can be best looked after at home with over the counter medication, plenty of fluids, rest and recuperation

·         seek help from a high street pharmacist quickly if you start to feel unwell with a cough or a cold and before it gets more serious

·         GPs can treat the majority of healthcare needs and are the first point of contact for most medical problems for you and your family

·         Urgent care centres in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals are open daily from 8am until midnight

·         NHS 111 is available 24/7 for urgent medical advice including out-of-hours GP services. 

·         Parents and carers of under-fives can get medical advice on a range of common childhood illnesses by downloading the ‘NHS Child Health’ app from Google Play or the App Store

Pharmacies and GP practices are now open as normal following the bank holiday weekend and should be people’s first port of call for the majority of routine medical issues.

Dr Jane Weatherstone, associate medical director primary and community care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “While GP services and pharmacies were available throughout the bank holiday weekend, we do usually see increased numbers of people accessing hospital services during and in the days immediately after a long weekend.

“This time we’ve also had large numbers of people who are very ill and need to be admitted to hospital which has put increased pressures on our services. This year, following unprecedented demand over the winter, spring has remained extremely busy with this continuing into May.

“We’d urge people to think very carefully about which service they use and remind people that GP practices and pharmacies are back to normal and can be accessed in the usual way.

“These must be people’s ‘go-to’ option for most health issues that don’t require immediate help to enable the already busy teams in hospitals to focus their efforts on people who really do need our services.

“Everyone must play their part in using services wisely at any time of the year, however especially following a bank holiday. If you are in any doubt which service to access, don’t hesitate to ring NHS 111 where advisors will be able to point you in the right direction of the most appropriate help.”


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