South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is appealing for the public’s support in dealing with a rise in people accessing emergency care as the summer months come to an end.
The Trust said it is currently experiencing higher numbers of very ill patients in its emergency department at Sunderland Royal Hospital and is urging people to only go to hospital if they have a serious or life-threatening illness or injury.
Dr Sean Fenwick, Director of Operations for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The pressure on our emergency services is relentless and something we are now experiencing all year round.
“We really appreciate the support of people in our local communities in helping our emergency teams to treat patients with urgent and life-threatening illness and injury as quickly as possible.
“Unfortunately, we are still seeing large numbers of people attending our emergency departments at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital who should be using other services as they do not require urgent treatment. This can lead to longer waiting times and delays in treating those in most need.”
Health bosses say self-care and visiting a pharmacist are options in the first instance for ailments which are common at this time of year, such as coughs and colds, upset stomachs and general aches and pains.
The trust said GPs are providing more convenient appointment times for patients outside the standard working day by offering extended opening hours in the evenings and at weekends for people who really need to see them.
Residents are also being reminded that if they are in any doubt about an illness or symptoms the NHS 111 number is available 24/7 for expert medical advice.
Many minor ailments can be treated at home with over-the-counter medicines, so as the weather becomes colder, residents are urge to stock up first aid kits with items such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, bandages and plasters.
For details of opening times for local GPs and pharmacists, go to http://urgentoremergency.co.uk/