Public asked only go to A&E for serious health emergencies

Wed 31st December 2014

North Tyneside’s NHS has experienced significant pressures in hospital A&E departments over the Christmas weekend, causing long waiting times and some cancelled operations.

High numbers of poorly older people with respiratory illnesses are seeing increased admissions into hospital.

A&E departments are reporting long waiting times.

Icy conditions today will likely lead to slips and trips therefore broken bones meaning additional A&E attendances.

The NHS calling on the public who can help by:

Please only attend A&E or use the 999 service for serious health emergencies which include:

  • A major accident
  • Broken bones
  • Breathing problems
  • Severe chest pains
  • Unconsciousness
  • Suspected stroke
  • Severe blood loss


Look in on elderly neighbours and relatives and make sure they are warm and well.


Remember your GP practice is open every day apart from January 1st. They are also open on Friday January 2nd with some open on Saturday 3rd. Check your GP practice website for details.


If you need medical advice call NHS 111. They can advise on alternative local NHS services available. If NHS 111 gives you advice, then please follow it – by doing this you are helping the NHS make the best use of resources.


If you are normally healthy and have a winter illness such as a cough or a cold, then visit your pharmacist for advice and stock up on over the counter medication.

For a guide to self-care go to

Dr John Matthews, North Tyneside GP and chair of NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, speaking on behalf of local NHS services, said

“Our hospitals and A&E departments are under severe pressures and we need to make sure that only the people who need emergency medical help attend. The public can help us make sure that NHS services are available for those people most in need by thinking about what other local NHS services might be better placed to help them that mean that 999 and A&E stay free for those more in need of emergency care.

Dr Matthews continued: “Remember your GP practice is open this week, there are walk-in services open and NHS 111 can give quick advice

“Most normally healthy people with a winter illness do not need to see their GP, do not need to attend A&E and absolutely do not need to call 999.  Colds, sore throats, head-aches, hangovers, upset stomachs, coughs, aches, pains, and winter vomiting should all be treated at home or with the advice of your local pharmacist, with pain killers, rest and plenty of fluids.

“By doing this not only are you helping to reduce the spread of winter viruses to other vulnerable patients in NHS waiting rooms – you are also keeping appointments available for people who have serious health conditions that must see a doctor or nurse, or have severe or life threatening conditions that need emergency care immediately.

Dr Matthews continued: “The NHS belongs to all of us and in the North East we have a proud history of close working across all NHS services. We really need the help of those who really do not need to call 999 or go to A&E to help our doctors, nurses and paramedics so they can provide the very best care they can to those who need it the most this Christmas time.”

During winter months, the demand for NHS services increases significantly as cold weather means there are more slips, trips and injuries. Generally more people feel unwell during the winter as they spend more time indoors and coughs and colds are passed around the family, friends and colleagues at work. In addition festive public holidays can, place additional pressure on specific parts of the system, such as orthopaedics, intensive care and paediatrics.

This all adds up to more of people having an accident or becoming unwell with a winter bug, meaning more people want to see their GP, attend accident and emergency or call 999.

Across the region’s NHS, the 12 North East Clinical Commissioning Groups have systems and processes in place to monitor and manage the pressures across health and social care organisations who are working together to manage this situation.

Now the region’s NHS staff are asking the public to help them ensure that vital NHS services are available for patients who need them the most, by thinking carefully about alternative local NHS services they could use instead of calling 999 or going to the accident and emergency department.

If someone has an injury of ailment which is not an emergency, they can call NHS 111, or seek help from their GP, pharmacist or local walk-in or urgent centre.

Advice on how to treat a range of common winter conditions by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home or speaking to your local pharmacist is available at or @keepcalmne.

Christmas and New Year pharmacy opening hours for North Tyneside are available here, surrounding areas are available here.