Patients are being urged not to clog up accident and emergency departments for minor ailments and instead see their GP or pharmacist.
NHS England is making the plea regarding non-emergency health issues, in time for the New Year period, to help ease teh pressure during this busy time.
Instead people are being asked to call 111 to make a GP appointment or to visit a local pharmacy.
In most cases, this will mean they receive the advice and care they need much quicker.
Although some GP practices are closed over the New Year bank holiday, there is still access to GP appointments or pharmacists, should people need it.
Jonathan Slade, medical director for NHS England Cumbria and the North East, said: “The main message we want to get across is that a number of GPs and pharmacists across the region are open for business over the New Year holidays.
“We’d like to reassure people that if they call 111, they will be allocated an appointment should they need one.
“This is a particularly important message for older people, people with long-term health conditions and parents.
“Pharmacists can provide instant, confidential advice and treatment for minor illnesses, without the need to make an appointment.
“Our A&E departments get extremely busy during this time and we want to ensure that patients who really need emergency care receive the quickest possible treatment they need, and that people who can be cared for elsewhere are not waiting in accident and emergency departments.”