Patients asked to stay away from South Shields hospital's A&E department this Easter

People in South Tyneside are being asked to stay away from A&E over Easter unless it's an emergency .
South Tyneside District Hospital.South Tyneside District Hospital.
South Tyneside District Hospital.

Bosses at South Tyneside District Hospital, in South Shields, are expecting to be busy over the holiday weekend and, in a bid to try to ease pressure on workers, people are being reminded that the Harton Lane hospital’s A&E unit is only for serious and life-threatening injuries.

Michelle Arrowsmith, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s chief operating officer, said: “We expect that our staff at South Tyneside District Hospital will be extremely busy over the Bank Holiday weekend and beyond.

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“As a result, some patients may wait longer than we would like in our Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.

“The public can really help us to manage the pressure by remembering that A&E is for serious and life-threatening injuries and conditions in the main, and we would ask them to please think about the things they can do to stay well by looking after themselves.”

It’s not the first time health chiefs have urged people to stay away – unless it’s vital. Staff were also swamped over Christmas.

The trust has drawn up a list of tips for staying well over Easter:

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People should ask their local community pharmacist for help, advice and support to treat common or less serious illnesses, such as coughs, colds, upset stomachs and skin problems.

For pharmacy Easter opening times in South Tyneside, visit www.stft.nhs.ukThose who take prescribed medicines should make sure they have enough to last over the holiday period.

If a person or one of their relatives is a frequent patient at the hospital, they should make sure that they, the GP and the community nurse has an up-to-date plan which will help people to manage their condition at home.

People should know the opening times of their own GP practice and, if they are feeling poorly, get an appointment as soon as they can with their own doctor.

Dial NHS 111 if you are unsure which service you need.

For information on walk-in centres, urgent care centres or minor injuries units, go to