HEALTH chiefs are encouraging patients to choose the right NHS service for the severity of their symptoms to help ease the pressure on busy accident and emergency (A&E) departments.
The message from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust follows a nine per cent rise in A&E attendances across the trust in December last year compared to the same period the previous year.
A&E departments at North Tyneside General Hospital in North Shields are especially busy and people with minor conditions are being advised to consider other options so that A&E teams can concentrate on helping those who are critically ill with serious life-threatening emergencies.
Mike Rickards, A&E consultant at North Tyneside General Hospital, said: “Our teams have seen a significant increase in A&E attendances over the past month compared to the previous year and we would always ask people to consider the most appropriate service to help them get the right treatment quickly.
“Diarrhoea and vomiting, colds and flu are all unpleasant, but in the majority of cases these illnesses can be treated at home with rest, plenty of fluids and some over the counter medication from your pharmacist.
“Attending A&E with these conditions will only spread germs amongst other more vulnerable and seriously ill patients.
“If you are suffering from cold or flu and feel that your symptoms are getting worse and don’t clear up after a few days then you should call NHS Direct on (0845) 4647 or telephone your local GP surgery for advice.”