Northumberland’s A&Es are continuing to experience significant pressures, sparking a renewed plea for patients to visit them only for serious health emergencies.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust made the initial plea last week to reduce pressure on services, with Wansbeck, Hexham and North Tyneside general hospitals – like many others across the country – all affected. But it has extended the request into the new year.
Serious health emergencises include: A major accident; broken bones; breathing problems; severe chest pains; unconsciousness; suspected stroke and severe blood loss.
The trust is also appealing to people who do go to A&E to be patient as due to the nprecedented demand there will inevitably be a delay for those cases which are not life-threatening or serious.
Later today figures on A&E waiting times are to be released by NHS England.
If you need medical advice call NHS 111. They can advise on alternative local NHS services available.
Patients who are normally healthy but have a winter illness such as a cough or a cold are asked to visit their pharmacist for advice and stock up on over the counter medication.
For a guide to self-care go to 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.
“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, headaches, 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.”