Front-line NHS teams across Sunderland are asking people to do their bit and use health services sensibly as restrictions continue to ease.
The NHS across the region is seeing an increase in the number of people attending A&E departments, many of whom could have sought advice from a service more appropriate for their needs.
With A&E departments designed to treat the most serious and life threatening conditions – everyone is being asked to #DoYourBit and think about alternative services such as pharmacy, GP and 111 online or telephone first, and not just to turn up to A&E.
The appeal comes as lockdown measures are eased further this week and with another bank holiday approaching.
While the number of Covid-19 cases across the region remains low, NHS teams – across hospital and GP practices – still face challenges such as reduced space in hospital treatment areas and surgeries and the need to follow strict infection control measures to ensure patients and staff continue to be safe.
The region’s health service is therefore asking the public to keep up their amazing support for the NHS and #DoYourBit by remembering:
To think pharmacy, GP and 111 online or telephone first. Only attend A&E or call 999 if you have serious or life-threatening emergencies.
If you suspect you have Covid-19 stay at home and get a test by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk. You cannot access testing through A&E or GP surgeries.
If you are visiting any of our healthcare settings, please remember to wear a face covering, 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 NHS staff.
Please keep your hospital, clinic or GP appointment. If you can’t make it, do let us know so we can offer that appointment to others.
The majority of hospitals across the North East are seeing more than 250 to 300 people in one day alone. Some of the non-urgent conditions people attend with, which could have been dealt with by other services, include uncomplicated back and abdominal pains, headaches, mild allergies and earache and on some occasions a test for Covid-19.
Local GP and Chief Clinical Officer and Accountable Officer for Sunderland clinical commissioning groups, Dr Neil O’Brien, said: “Please think of your pharmacy, GP or 111 first if you’re concerned about your health and your condition is not life threatening. You might not always be able to get a same day appointment, but you will always be able to speak with someone.
“In the current pandemic, GP surgeries have introduced phone and video consultations for diagnosis so there are many alternatives routes for treatment and advice that don’t involve turning up at your local A&E.”