Pressure increasing on A&E services

Residents are being urged to only attend A&E for serious health emergencies.

The NHS has experienced significant pressures in hospital A&E departments over the Christmas weekend, causing long waiting times and some cancelled operations.

Health officials are asking people to only attend A&E or use the 999 service for serious health emergencies which include a major accident, broken bones, breathing problems, severe chest pains, unconsciousness, suspected stroke or severe blood loss.

GP practices will be open every day apart from January 1, with most open on January 2 and some on January 3. Patients are asked to check their GP practice website for details.

Medical advice is also available via the NHS 11 phone number.

For a guide to self-care visit

Dr John Matthews, chair of NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, speaking on behalf of local NHS services, said: “Our hospitals and A&E departments are under severe pressures and we need to make sure that only the people who need emergency medical help attend.

“The public can 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 that mean that 999 and A&E stay free for those more in need of emergency care.

“Remember your GP practice is open this week, there are walk-in services open and NHS 111 can give quick advice

“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, head-aches, 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.”