Plea to help South Tyneside health and social care services over festive period

South Tyneside residents are being urged to be patient and not stretch services as the NHS and social care services face up to a tough festive season.

South Tyneside residents are being urged not to over-burden health and social care services over Christmas
South Tyneside residents are being urged not to over-burden health and social care services over Christmas

Services are experiencing the highest levels of pressure on record in the run up to Christmas.

Now bosses are urging the public to take simple steps to reduce the pressure.

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Dr Robin Hudson, a GP and Medical Director of the Integrated Care Board in South Tyneside said everyone had a part to play: “South Tyneside is under a lot of pressure right now and we really do need everyone’s support,” he said.

‘Support and kindness’

"Our priority is to keep everyone as safe as possible and respond as best we can in these very testing circumstances.

“We’re working hard to ensure patients who need help continue to get the support they need as quickly as possible -but we’re also asking the public to help us too by keeping emergency services free for people who are critically ill or injured and choosing the right service for their needs.

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“Inevitably at times of pressure this will impact on how we are able to deliver services. People attending hospital, waiting for a GP appointment or receiving care at home will need to be prepared for delays and disruption.

"I would urge everyone in our communities to lend your support and kindness to our teams working extra hard during these difficult times."

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Other ways to help include:

 Use www.nhs.uk for self-care advice on any minor illnesses

 Visit your local pharmacy and stock up your medicines cabinet Visit: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/pharmacy/find-a-pharmacy to find your nearest pharmacy)

 Call on any vulnerable friends, neighbours or relatives to make sure they are ok and have everything they need

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 If you are eligible for the free flu and Covid vaccines please get these ASAP. Speak to your GP or a pharmacist about the flu jab.

 If you think you need urgent help, use the 111 online symptom checker first www.111.nhs.uk before dialling 111

 Please only use 999 or the emergency department for serious or life-threatening emergencies.

 If you are visiting a loved one in hospital you will be required to wear a facemask.

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 Please do not visit loved ones in hospital if you have had sickness or diarrhoea in the past 48 hours or if you have a cough, cold or flu like symptoms or if you have tested positive for COVID in the last 7 days.

‘We will continue to prioritise care and support for those most in need’

As all parts of the health and social care system manage this extreme and unrelenting pressure, people are being advised that they will experience longer waits and changes to their usual level of service.

Councillor Anne Hetherington is South Tyneside’s Lead Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing: “The pressures facing the NHS are equally felt right across our social care system and we’d like to thank people and communities for their support as we manage this exceptionally busy period,” she said.

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“We will continue to prioritise care and support for those most in need and would like to thank all staff for the way they continue to respond as unprecedented numbers of people need the help and support from health and social care services.”