Health bosses are encouraging residents to use the most appropriate service for their symptoms.
Following a busy start to 2016, officials at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust are reminding people to ‘think GP first’ for most medical problems.
Dr Jane Weatherstone, associate medical director primary and community care at the trust, said: “As we start 2016, it’s a good opportunity to remind people of the NHS services that are available so that they know where to go to access the right help for the severity of their condition.
“At this time of year we always see more people needing help from the NHS and it’s really important that people use NHS help appropriately.
“Now that GP practices and pharmacies have returned to normal opening hours, we’d encourage people to make use of these services for most medical problems.”
“For urgent conditions which are not life threatening, our urgent care centres at Wansbeck, Hexham and North Tyneside general hospitals are open 24/7. You will be seen much more quickly as you will not have to wait behind patients who are seriously ill.”
GPs should remain residents’ first port of call.
Pharmacies have also returned to normal opening hours and are a good source of advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses.
The trust is also reminding people that the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital is for serious or life threatening emergencies.
People with less serious problems who need urgent medical attention for non-life threatening conditions, should use the 24-hour urgent care centre at North Tyneside General Hospital.