Public is urged to stop misusing NHS emergency services

David Evans
David Evans

Health bosses in the North East have issued a stark warning to the public who are misusing emergency NHS services, putting unnecessary pressure on hospitals and more seriously-ill patients at risk.

Between December 1 and Christmas Day, more than 53,000 people attended major A&E departments in the region’s hospitals; with just over 15,000 of these actually needing admission to hospital for emergency treatment.

The public is urged to stop misusing A&E services for minor ailments which are not serious or life-threatening. Over the festive period, people in the region went to A&E for things like colds and broken finger nails.

Emergency 999 calls have also risen by a third in the last two weeks, putting enormous pressure on the North East Ambulance Service. Residents are being encouraged to ring 999 only in a serious emergency.

David Evans, of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Emergency departments are busy and people must start taking accountability for their actions and the impact on the NHS.

“If it is not a serious or life-threatening emergency, please do not waste the time of busy hospital teams or 999 services who are there to look after patients who are very sick and who do need immediate medical help.”

GPs should be the first port of call, unless it is a serious or life-threatening emergency. If in doubt, the free NHS 111 number is available 24/7 for expert medical advice.