Fears grow that seriously ill people across North East are missing treatment during coronavirus lockdown

North East health trusts are urging seriously ill people not to miss out on vital treatment during the coronavirus crisis.

Thursday, 30th April 2020, 11:57 am

The North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System – which includes trusts covering Sunderland, South Tyneside, Hartlepool and Northumberland – is supporting the NHS’ national ‘open for business’ campaign.

The plea comes as emerging evidence shows that there has been a vast reduction in the number of seriously ill people in the North East and North Cumbria accessing help.

There has been a significant decrease in the number of people presenting with stroke and transient ischaemic attacks (mini strokes). The number of people being referred for suspected cancer is also significantly down and there has been a large reduction in patients with chest pain seeking urgent advice.

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Health trusts across the region are backing the campaign

A key part of the national campaign is encouraging parents of young children not to delay getting NHS help if they need it.

Dr Stephen Bruce, a consultant paediatrician at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’ve seen lower numbers of youngsters being brought to our children’s unit since the coronavirus pandemic took hold, which is concerning.

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“Children who are not well can deteriorate very quickly if not treated and we would urge parents and carers not to put off seeking NHS help if their child needs to.”

Dr Mark Dornan, senior clinical Officer of NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “GPs have seen a sharp drop in the number of people coming forward with things like possible cancer.

“All GP consultations now happen by phone or video in the first instance. If your doctor feels you need to be seen face-to-face, they can arrange a safe way for this to happen.”

The key messages are:

*If you need medical help from your GP practice, contact them either online, by an app or by phone;

*If you need urgent help, use the NHS 111 online service. If you cannot get help online, call 111;

*In an emergency, call 999;

*If you are told to go to hospital it is important that you do.

*You should continue to attend appointments, unless told otherwise.

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