The NHS across the North East and North Cumbria is today
launching a major public awareness campaign in a bid to help ease
pressure on busy frontline teams and make sure people use our
valuable NHS resources wisely.
As the NHS prepares to manage the increase in demand which is
expected at this time of year, health chiefs are making an
important appeal by urging people:
As the region prepares for its busiest weekend of festivities
with people out enjoying themselves, the NHS is also appealing for
people to drink sensibly during their Christmas celebrations and to
wrap up warm in the cold weather conditions. The North East
has some of the highest alcohol-related hospital admissions in the
whole country and NHS bosses are urging people to act
responsibility to avoid putting extra strain on busy frontline
The major public awareness campaign which launches today and
will run throughout 2020, urges people to 'think before they act'
and appeals to the public conscience to ask people to really
consider how they are using local NHS services.
Helen Ray, Chief Executive of North East Ambulance Service NHS
Foundation Trust and Co-Chair of the North East and North Cumbria
Urgent and Emergency Care Network, said: "We really want
people to think about how they are using our precious NHS
resources. This is a really busy time of year for us and
staff across all parts of the NHS are working incredibly hard so
it's important that we all take responsibility for our actions.
"There is no question that the NHS will always be here for you
when you need us most, but we also need your help to act
responsibly. Our paramedic teams are under immense pressure
and it's vital that we can free up ambulances to reach those who
are in genuine need of immediate life-saving care.
"Over 40% of people who call 999 for an emergency ambulance
don't need to be taken to hospital and there is a common
misconception that arriving to hospital by ambulance will mean you
get seen quicker. This is simply not true and the NHS will
always treat people based on the urgency of their clinical need,
not how they arrived at hospital."
Winter always means additional pressure across all parts of the
health service due to common seasonal illnesses circulating in the
community. Hospitals also see an increase in emergency
admissions from those who are more vulnerable and at risk of
becoming seriously unwell during the cold winter months. This
includes people with breathing or heart problems, older people and
those suffering from other long-term health conditions.
The NHS in the region is well prepared for these pressures which
continue to rise year-on-year, but health staff also need the
public's help to keep emergency services free for those who need
Dr Stewart Findlay, Chief Officer at Durham Dales,
Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group and Co-Chair
of the North East and North Cumbria's Urgent and Emergency Care
Network said: "We are appealing to the goodwill of people across
the region to help our busy NHS teams and really take some personal
accountability for how they use services.
"Our NHS provides a fantastic service but we need people to
respect it and use it properly. We know there are still
hundreds of instances of people accessing hospital emergency
services for relatively minor problems which can be easily treated
by other parts of the NHS.
"We really want people to stop and think about how they
use services so that those in genuine need of an emergency
ambulance or life-saving care get the help they need. Our
amazing NHS staff are under intense pressure and doing a fantastic
job caring for seriously ill people, but they need your support
more than ever before."
People across the region are being urged to use the new NHS 111
online service (www.111.nhs.uk) for advice on
arrange of illnesses and to call NHS 111 if they are unsure what to
do. A wealth of NHS services are available across the region
to treat less serious injuries and illnesses.
For most people who are normally fit and healthy, many common
winter illnesses will usually clear up or their own accord with
good self care, lots of fluid, plenty of rest and over the counter
People with vomiting and diarrhoea should stay away from
hospitals and GP surgeries until they are at least 48 hours
symptom-free so they don't pass on their bugs and put staff and
patients at risk. People are advised to take sensible steps
to protect themselves and their loved ones by washing their hands
regularly with soap and water, especially after going to the
As the number of people suffering from flu increases, the NHS
across the region is also urging those at risk*, including all
frontline NHS staff, to take up their offer of a free vaccination
as a matter of urgency. Vaccination is the single most
effective way to prevent catching the flu and to protect yourself
and others, especially those at risk of serious complications.
'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been
excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very
thankful and relieved patient'.
Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital
of North Durham