Calls to 999 only for an emergency

Residents are being urged to only visit A&E or call 999 if they have a life threatening or critical condition.

Hospital and ambulance staff are asking for support in focusing on emergencies as they deal with a busy period.

Health service officials say that members of the public using the services for minor conditions are adding to the pressure and taking up valuable time needed to treat critical cases.

Residents are being encouraged to consider other options when they are ill and it is not an emergency, such as taking care of themselves at home, phoning NHS 111, visiting a pharmacist or make an appointment with their GP.

Dr Mike Prentice, medical director for the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear area team of NHS England, said: “We’d like to remind everyone that A&E and 999 are for health emergencies only, including major accidents, broken bones, breathing problems, severe chest pains, suspected stroke and major blood loss.

“Many ailments, such as colds, sore throats, upset stomachs and winter vomiting should be treated at home with painkillers, rest and plenty of fluids, or with the advice of your local pharmacist.

“Walk-in centres are open most days between 8am to 8pm and can treat illnesses or injuries such as sprains, insect/animal bites, minor cuts, bruises and burns.”