Public urged to #DoYourBit by staying safe and sensible as restrictions start to ease

Fri 30th April 2021

Health leaders across the North East and North Cumbria are urging the public to stay safe and act sensibly as restrictions continue to ease as part of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

The region’s NHS is appealing to the public – ahead of the May bank holidays – to look after their health and remember to follow the rules as they start to mix and socialise outdoors.

Their message – please enjoy your time with friends and family but don’t over-do it – is a reminder that drinking too much puts your health and safety at risk, and could put further pressure on NHS services.

Front line teams across the NHS all too often see, first-hand, the impact that drinking too much on a ‘afternoon or night out’ has. It not only poses a risk to someone’s health but can put extra demand on emergency services.

In some cases, this can result in the abuse of front-line staff – an issue which is also being highlighted by the region’s NHS this week in a series of hard-hitting ‘it happened to me’ videos from emergency services teams giving their own personal accounts of the violence and abuse they have experienced.

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) deputy chief executive Paul Liversidge said: “We want people to enjoy themselves but to be responsible too. But please don’t let that be an excuse to abuse NHS services – and staff – who have been there for you all throughout the last year. We are still dealing with a pandemic and all NHS staff have worked extremely hard under difficult conditions to keep the public safe. NHS staff and other key workers deserve to go to work without fear of being assaulted and those who choose to abuse staff will be reported to the police.”

While there has been a fall in the number of Covid-19 cases, the NHS still faces challenges such as reduced space in hospital treatment areas as a result social distancing and infection control measures.

So, the region’s health service is asking the public to keep up their amazing support for the NHS and do their bit by remembering:

  • The virus is still circulating and there is a risk of increased infection rates if you don’t follow the rules for hands, face, space and fresh air.
  • Please think pharmacy, GP and 111 first. Only attend A&E or call 999 if you have serious or life-threatening emergencies.
  • If you are visiting any of our healthcare settings, please remember to wear a face covering and use our handwashing and alcohol gel facilities.
  • Please attend appointments on your own, where possible, to limit the number of people on site and reduce the risk of infection to other patients and hospital staff.
  • If you suspect you have Covid-19 stay at home and get a test. You cannot access testing through A&E.

Dr Mike Bramble, interim clinical lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “With the bank holidays ahead and the warmer weather on its way we are all looking forward to enjoying time with friends and family. But we hope everyone will behave in a way that does not impact on their health, our emergency services and the wider NHS by continuing to follow the rules on social distancing and staying safe and sensible.”

Bank holidays can be a very busy time for the emergency departments and other services.

Dr Jo Hughes, consultant in emergency medicine at Northumbria Healthcare added: “We are continuing to urge the public to think pharmacy, GP and 111 first and only attend A&E or call 999 if you have serious or life-threatening emergencies.

“Those that do turn up to our A&E department will of course be assessed clinically by a member of our team but will be re-directed to a more appropriate service for their needs if they don’t need emergency care.

“By thinking of alternative services people will be doing their bit to help stop the spread of coronavirus, keep people safe and keep A&E for those that really need it.

“Please remember that NHS 111 online or telephone can make direct appointments at surgeries, pharmacies and urgent treatment centres. They can also send an ambulance for serious or life-threatening issues.”

Alexandra Kent a North Tyneside GP and medical director of North Tyneside CCG said: “The NHS is here for you if you need us however please use services sensibly and choose the most appropriate service to best suit your needs.

“During the pandemic we have changed our systems to ensure everyone’s safety. All contact with our patients is via phone, e-consult or video consult initially, but we will be able to see you face-to-face if that is needed.

“We’re urging people to plan ahead as they would normally do by ordering repeat prescriptions in advance and ensuring a well-stocked medicine cupboard.

“If you have a minor ailment, pharmacies are open throughout the weekend and can offer advice and over-the-counter medicines for most common ailments. NHS 111 online is a very helpful resource. Please use it to help with any decisions about whether you need a clinical assessment for your condition.”