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Region’s NHS appeals to public to use the right NHS service

Front-line NHS teams across the region are urgently appealing to the public to use the right NHS service for their needs.

The appeal comes as the nation gets ready to watch England’s next Euro game on Tuesday – which coupled with expected warm weather– could lead to added pressure on services at an already busy time for the NHS.

Dr Bas Sen, regional clinical advisor for the North East and a consultant in emergency medicine at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle said: “We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun – please do enjoy the football and time with friends and family – but don’t over-do it. Drinking too much puts your health and safety at risk and puts extra pressure on our services too. All too often we see many alcohol related injuries which could have been prevented if people had taken some sensible steps while enjoying themselves.”

NHS teams – across hospitals and GP practices – still face challenges such as reduced space in hospital treatment areas and surgeries and the need to follow strict infection control measures to ensure patients and staff continue to be safe.

This means it’s best for people, who don’t need to be in A&E, to seek support from services which better meets their needs, so that A&E teams can focus on those with life-threatening and serious injuries.

Some of the non-urgent conditions people are attending A&E with, which could have been dealt with by other services, include uncomplicated back and abdominal pains, headaches, mild allergies, and earache and on some occasions a test for covid-19.

Dr Sen added: “Please think about the alternatives available to you when you are unwell. A&E departments are there to treat the most serious and life threatening conditions so please think about whether your pharmacy, GP and 111 online or telephone can help. Don’t just to turn up to A&E

“Remember that NHS 111 online or telephone can make direct appointments at surgeries, pharmacies and urgent treatment centres. They can also send an ambulance for serious or life-threatening issues if that is what you need.”

The region’s GPs are also asking people to think about alternatives such as their local pharmacist.

GP in Chester-le-Street and chief officer for South Tyneside and Sunderland and County Durham clinical commissioning groups, Dr Neil O’Brien, said: “The NHS is here for you if you need us however please use services sensibly and choose the most appropriate service to best suit your needs.

“Please don’t wait until the last minute if you are unwell – seek help early and this, in some cases, will help to prevent your problem getting worse and needing an urgent appointment.

“We will always see people face-to-face where we can but we can’t have large volumes of people in our waiting rooms which is why we offer consultations over the phone, e-consult or video consult. Please don’t assume because our waiting room isn’t full that we are not busy, please be patient.”

Dr O’Brien added: “If you have a minor ailment, pharmacies can offer advice and over-the-counter medicines for most common ailments. NHS 111 online is a very helpful resource. Please use it to help with any decisions about whether you need a clinical assessment for your condition.”

People can also do their bit by remembering some of the following :

  • If you suspect you have Covid-19 stay at home and get a test by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk. You cannot access testing through A&E or GP surgeries.
  • If you are visiting any of our healthcare settings, please remember to wear a face covering, use our handwashing and alcohol gel facilities.
  • Please attend appointments on your own, where possible, to limit the number of people on site and reduce the risk of infection to other patients and NHS staff.
  • Please keep your hospital, clinic or GP appointment. If you can’t make it, do let us know so we can offer that appointment to others.
  • Be kind – all our staff are doing their best to look after you, please be patient.

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