Choose wisely this winter

Posted on Mon, 04/12/2017


As NHS services come under increasing pressure staff at QE Gateshead are reminding the public to think carefully about using the right service for their needs this winter.

NHS organisations across the North East and North Cumbria are reminding patients to think ahead if they need health care advice or services in the run up to Christmas.

A&E departments and the ambulance service are for the most serious illnesses and people with non-emergency health issues should visit a local pharmacy, make a GP appointment or call 111.

In most cases, this will mean people receive the most appropriate advice and care much quicker.

Patients in Gateshead can also visit our other treatment centre in Blaydon which is a nurse-led unit for people with minor injuries and illnesses. To find out more about the centre and how to get there by click here.

People are also being asked to make sure that their medicine cabinet and first aid kits are well stocked and that repeat prescriptions are collected well before the busy festive period.

If it’s not an emergency, then there are number of ways to seek help.

  • There is a wealth of information on NHS Choices website where you can check out symptoms and find advice for treating minor illnesses which usually get better on their own. You can also find information about your local walk-in centres, urgent care centres and minor injuries units by typing in your postcode.
  • For parents who have children under five years old and need advice on how to identify and treat common childhood illness, download the free NHS child health app. The app has been developed by local doctors, health visitors and pharmacists and can be downloaded from Google Play or Apple’s App Store, by searching “NHS child health.”
  • Pharmacists are highly experienced clinical processionals, and are often open longer hours in local neighbourhoods. They can provide instant, confidential advice and offer over the counter treatment for minor illnesses, without the need to make an appointment. For local pharmacy opening hours over the holiday period and a wealth of useful health advice click here
  • NHS 111 can also provide advice on other local services such as walk in centres and, in some cases, can directly book GP appointments in some areas.
  • You can check live waiting times for urgent care in Gateshead by clicking here 

By looking at these alternatives first, patients will receive the most appropriate care and advice and, in most cases, will be seen quicker than if they go to an A&E department.

Andy Beeby, medical director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital said: “Like many NHS hospitals up and down the country, we continue to face pressure on our services over the winter period and we are working hard to ensure we continue to provide safe and sustainable services to our patients.

“Local people can play a valuable role in helping us this winter, by managing their own minor ailments through self-care and use of local pharmacists and by using NHS 111 for healthcare advice to ease the pressure on hospital services. We ask people to please use emergency services responsibly and think about alternatives to hospital for more minor issues.”

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can change this and find out more by following this link.
Accept Cookies