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NHS says ‘think carefully’ before using 999 or Emergency Departments

The region's NHS has issued a plea for the public to access emergency services with care ahead of a busy bank holiday weekend.

A surge in demand is expected in hospitals across the North East and North Cumbria over the long weekend. To help ease the pressure, doctors are asking people to use services carefully and with consideration.

Dr Stewart Findlay is Co-Chair of the North East and North Cumbria Urgent and Emergency Care Network. He said: "We're expecting high demand on services over the holiday weekend. Emergency departments in particular will be very busy so we're asking everyone to think carefully and choose the right NHS service for their needs.

"Visiting the emergency department or calling 999 is only appropriate if a patient is seriously unwell or needs critical or lifesaving treatment. By choosing the right service for non-emergency problems you will be helping us focus on providing emergency care to patients who need it most.

"Out of hours GP appointments are now available through local extended access schemes, which can be booked through your surgery. If you need urgent care and can't see a GP, you can phone the NHS 111 service, where there are health advisors 24 hours a day to ensure you get the right care for your needs.

"Many common health issues can be treated at home with over-the-counter medicines or with advice from a pharmacist. Community pharmacists are trained medical professionals who can provide confidential advice with no appointment necessary.

"As we move into this busy period for our hospitals and ambulance services, we're calling on everyone to remember that Emergency Departments are for serious and life-threatening emergencies. In those situations we would always advise patients to call 999 or go to the local Emergency Department (A&E) immediately.

"In less serious situations, we're asking everyone to consider their treatment options more widely. By using the right service, you are helping our NHS and it's likely that you will have a shorter wait."

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Published 24th MAy 2019

'Care received was fantastic and I was very well looked after and very impressed.'

Patient, Day Surgery, Darlington Memorial Hospital