NHS asks everyone to #DoYourBit to help deal with demand

A host of help is at hand to give people the care they need as they do their bit to ease the pressure on frontline services of the NHS.

People have been urged to turn to pharmacists and NHS 111 to seek help to ease the pressure on A&E

Services including pharmacies, GP practices and NHS 111 are geared up to help and should be the first port of call for a minor illness or injury.

The call comes after South Tyneside and Sunderland continue to see high community rates of infection for COVID-19 in recent months, while the number of patients in need of treatment for the virus has also caused concern.

In addition, the emergency departments at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital have seen record numbers of people attend for treatment, some of whom could have been more appropriately seen by another service.

NHS are asking everyone to do their bit.

People have been urged to give their support during this challenging time and to not visit the Emergency Departments unless they have a serious or life-threatening condition.

Dr Shaz Wahid, Executive Medical Director at the Trust, said: “We are always here if people need us but we are seeing people in our emergency departments that could have been cared for more appropriately elsewhere. So we would urge people to think pharmacy, GP and 111 first.”

The public are also being reminded that if they need to see a GP on an evening, weekend, or bank holiday, appointments are available across South Tyneside and Sunderland by contacting their GP practice in the usual way or calling NHS 111 if it is out of hours and the practice is closed.

Dr Wahid added: “All parts of the NHS are extremely busy and all NHS staff are working incredibly hard in the community and in our hospitals. Please be patient and kind to our teams who are doing their very best to treat as many patients as possible.

“If people do turn up to our emergency departments they will of course be assessed clinically by a member of our team, but may be re-directed to a more appropriate service for their needs or face a very long wait if they don’t need emergency care.”

The Trust is also urging people to get their COVID-19 jab and continue to wear a mask in its hospital buildings as well as busy indoor spaces, such as shops and on public transport.

Regular handwashing and social distancing also helps to reduce the spread of the virus.

Other ways to do your bit to help ease the pressure include:

- If you suspect you have COVID-19, stay at home and book a test by calling 119 or visit www.nhs.uk

- Wear a face covering in health care settings and use handwashing and alcohol gel stations

- Attend appointments on your own, where possible, to limit the number of people on site and reduce the risk of infection

- Keep your appointments and let the NHS know if you cannot make it, so the slot can be used by another patient

To find out more about the plans visit www.ststft.nhs.uk.