373 A&E visits down to just FOUR people

REGULAR VISITORS ... South Tyneside District Hospitals accident and emergency department.

REGULAR VISITORS ... South Tyneside District Hospitals accident and emergency department.

FOUR patients in South Tyneside visited A&E a total of 373 times in just one year – shock new figures have revealed.

The adults were all regular visitors to South Tyneside District’s Hospital’s accident and emergency department in South Shields during the last financial year.

One person attended the unit 105 times, averaging two visits a week, while three others had a combined total of 268 attendances.

The figures, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, also revealed that 99 people had also visit the Harton Lane unit 1,774 times, during the same 12-month period.

Hospital bosses are urging people to only attend A&E when it is an actual emergency.

Helen Ray, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s chief operating officer, said: “We appreciate that there are various reasons why patients become frequent attendees at A&E, including mental health and drug and alcohol abuse problems.

“However, emergency departments such as ours come under tremendous pressure, especially at this time of year, and we would appeal to patients with minor injuries and illnesses to help us to manage the pressures and attend to the very sick people who really need to be seen in hospital by not automatically turning up at A&E.”

Members of the public are encouraged to consider other options when they are ill and it’s not an emergency, such as taking care of themselves at home, calling NHS 111, visiting a local pharmacist for advice if they’re unsure about symptoms, or making an appointment with their GP.

Dr Mike Prentice, medical director for the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear area team of NHS England, said: “GP practices and pharmacies had alternative opening times in place over the festive season, but normal opening hours have now resumed.

“We’d like to remind everyone that A&E and 999 are for health emergencies only, including major accidents, broken bones, breathing problems, severe chest pains, unconsciousness, suspected stroke, and major blood loss.

“Many ailments, such as colds, sore throats, upset stomachs, and winter vomiting, should be treated at home with pain killers, rest and plenty of fluids, or with the advice of your local pharmacist.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazvez




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