Public urged to avoid using NHS services if they have minor illness or ailments

Mon 15th May 2017

NHS services across the region are extremely busy and are asking the public to think twice before using A&E, GPs practices or calling NHS 111.

While GP practices have been open as usual on Monday, many in the North East have been unable to access IT and clinical systems which have meant practices have taken longer to see and treat patients.

Accident and emergency services and other walk in services are reporting high numbers of people attending, many who have minor illness and conditions which could be treated at home or with advice from a pharmacist.

Now the NHS is appealing to the public to help the NHS again and relieve pressure on the system at this time:

  • Please do not attend A&E or dial 999 unless it is a serious or life threatening emergency
  • The NHS 111 service is under increased pressure so please think carefully before accessing urgent medical help
  • Remember many common illnesses can be best looked after at home with over the counter medication, plenty of fluids, rest and recuperation – and no need to visit A&E
  • High street pharmacists are open and can help if you start to feel unwell with a cough, cold or other minor ailment or injury
  • Parents and carers of under fives can get medical advice on a range of common childhood illnesses from the ‘NHS Child Health’ app available from Google Play or the App store

The region’s NHS is keen to reassure people that the majority of services are running however there has been disruption for some planned patient care.

People should continue to access emergency services in the usual way if there is a genuine need for urgent medical help that cannot wait.

Those attending the region’s emergency departments or calling 999 for an emergency ambulance and have minor health problems should expect to wait given the current pressures as clinical teams must prioritise those with time critical needs.

NHS staff in the region are being thanked for their tremendous efforts to continue providing safe patient care in these difficult circumstances.

What you can do to help

The public are being advised that this is a busy week for all NHS services in the region and to support the NHS in the following ways:

Please think carefully if you feel you need to book a GP appointment and consider if it can be delayed to later in the week.

Please continue to keep A&E and emergency 999 service free for those with serious or life threatening needs

For all NHS appointments including GPs and hospital services please bring with you any medications, letters or paperwork you already have.

If you already have a GP appointment, please attend as usual and please bear in mind that your practice may not be able to access information required to meet all of your needs and you might be asked to return at a later date.

If you feel unwell then contact

  • Your GP or
  • Community Pharmacist or
  • NHS 111

For advice and treatment

Local pharmacies are open, and pharmacists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of common illness and injury and can provide help, advice and treatment.

The NHS 111 service can offer help and advice.