North East hospitals under pressure as staff forced to isolate and patient numbers surge
Health chiefs are calling on people in the North East to help hospitals, GPs and paramedics try to manage another surge of pressure on vital services as Covid-19 cases increase.
An increase in demand for NHS help has coincided with a large number of staff having to self-isolate because of coronavirus – stretching services even further after more than a year of managing the pandemic.
NHS leaders say staff still face challenges such as reduced space in hospital treatment areas and surgeries because of strict infection controls and a growing number of patients who require care for Covid-19.
To help cope with these pressures – and ensure people who need urgent care the most can get it – the NHS is asking people to:
*Think GP, NHS 111 online or pharmacy first before going to accident and emergency departments or calling 999 or 111.
* Stay at home if you suspect you have Covid-19 and get a test by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk.
*Get a second vaccination as soon as you are eligible.
*If visiting any healthcare setting, wear a face covering and use our handwashing and alcohol gel facilities.
*Attend appointments on your own, where possible, to limit the number of people on site.
*Keep hospital, clinic or GP appointment. If you can’t make it, let staff know.
Speaking on behalf of the NHS in the region Helen Ray chief executive of the North East Ambulance Service, 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, at the same time as more staff are having to isolate, making things even tougher.
“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.”
She added: “If people get the support they need from services which better meets their needs, our A&E teams can focus on those with life-threatening and serious injuries.”