NHS teams across the region are calling on everyone to help #DoYourBit as hospitals, GPs and paramedics try to manage another surge of pressure on vital services.
A surge in demand for NHS services has coincided with a large number of staff having to self-isolate because of Covid19, which is stretching services even harder after more than a year of managing a the pandemic.
NHS teams – across hospitals and GP practices – still face challenges such as reduced space in hospital treatment areas and surgeries because of the need to follow strict infection control measures to ensure patients and staff continue to be safe.
There is also growing numbers of patients in the North East and North Cumbria who require care for Covid19.
To help cope with these pressures and ensure the people who need care the most can get it the NHS is asking people to:
- Think GP, NHS 111 online or pharmacy first before coming to A&E or calling 111 or 999.
- 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.
- Get your second vaccination as soon as you are eligible
- Understand that you may not be seen in the same way as before the pandemic. Virtual or telephone appointments are often more appropriate.
- 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, let us know so we can offer that appointment to others.
- Be kind – all our staff are doing their best to look after you, please be patient.
Speaking on behalf of the NHS in the region Helen Ray chief executive of NEAS said:
“Every part of the system is currently under pressure so please think carefully about the right NHS service for your needs.
“We’re seeing increasing numbers of people right across the system and our staff are doing their very best to make sure everyone can get the care they require.
“However, at the same time as we’re seeing increased demand, our staff (like most of the rest of the population) are increasingly having to isolate, making things even tougher.
“We understand it can be hard to navigate the systems and if you need emergency care for a life-threatening condition or injury always call 999.
For other issues please – Access your GP, go on -line to NHS 111 or contact your local pharmacy for expert advice on self-care.
“If you access support from services which better meets your needs, our A&E teams can focus on those with life-threatening and serious injuries.”
GPs across the region are also seeing significant pressure after radically redesigning services during the pandemic and supporting the ongoing vaccine roll out
Dr Neil OBrien, a Durham GP and chair of the ICS vaccination board explained:
“This is an increasingly tough time for everyone and we appreciate how difficult it can feel for the public at the moment. However, we know that lots of people are still trying to make GP appointments for very minor ailments instead of using self-care or seeing pharmacists.
“In primary care we do need to triage patients so that we can see those most in need so we’d ask that people think about some of the newer ways of getting advice like NHS 111 or local pharmacies.
“For many patients things like virtual or telephone appointments will also be more convenient for and appropriate for their needs.”
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