With the extreme weather
across the North East and North Cumbria, the region's NHS has
urgent guidance for patients, staff and the public.
In addition, some GP practices
are struggling to stay open and those affected will be contacting
patients and re-arranging any routine appointments at the earliest
convenience. If patients require urgent medical advice, and
their GP practice is open, they will be assessed over the phone and
a decision taken about the most appropriate service to
The North East Ambulance
Service (NEAS) is also experiencing pressures and is asking people
to consider carefully whether they need to dial 999.
Paul Liversidge, Chief
Operating Officer at North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) said: "As
an emergency service, we don't stop for any weather and in the past
36 hours we have attended 1,286 incidents and answered 1,638
emergency 999 calls and 2,785 NHS111 calls.
"Our priority right now is the safety
of our staff and patients travelling in adverse weather conditions.
We are prioritising our resources to those patients who are
critically ill - please bear with us if it takes us a little longer
to access areas with heavier snow or traffic
"We have cancelled some
scheduled patient transport bookings for patients with routine
hospital appointments so that we can ensure our service for
critically ill patients and hospital discharges is
The NHS is urging patients to
choose which service they use wisely, and advises the elderly and
vulnerable people to keep warm, both indoors and out, and to heat
their homes to at least 18C.
NHS England's Medical Director
for Cumbria and the North East, Professor Chris Gray, said:
"Please take care of yourself and check that your
neighbours are okay. Our advice is: if you don't need to go
out, stay in, stay warm and stay well. If you have to go out, take
extra care on slippy surfaces."
"Health advice is available by
calling 111, on the NHS Choices website or from your local
pharmacist or GP - please do get advice at the first sign of
illness. Your local pharmacist is an excellent first point of call
for advice and seeing them helps to take pressure off GPs and
reduces non-emergency A&E visits."
"I want to say a huge thank
you to all of our NHS staff across the region who are working so
hard to deliver the best service they can at this very difficult
Cold weather can be very
harmful to health and around 25,000 more people die over the course
of each winter compared with other times of the year.
If you care for children,
health app is
free to download and offers a wealth of advice and
Published 28th February
'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient
ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough
- could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'
Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community