Patients are being reminded to use the right NHS service after a person attended the new emergency care hospital with a splinter in their finger.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has issued the public message after a high number of inappropriate attendances at the new hospital in Cramlington.
Over the last few weeks, people attending the facility have had a bad back, looking for routine blood checks, sore throats, small cuts and a splinter in a finger.
Officials say most problems could be dealt with by GPs or attending the 24/7 Urgent Care Centre at North Tyneside General Hospital.
Dr Jane Weatherstone, associate medical director for primary and community care, said: “Some of the cases we’ve seen would have been much better dealt with elsewhere, leaving our busy teams free to care for the most serious emergencies.”
“We are continuing to embed our recent A&E changes and appreciate that it has been a major service change for local people and one which is at the forefront of the NHS.
“It is important, however, that everyone takes responsibility for using services appropriately. Our Urgent Care Centres are open 24/7 and we would urge people to attend these walk-in services for minor problems or to call NHS 111.
“Speaking as a GP, I would also like to remind people that their GP practice should be the first point of contact for most medical problems and ongoing care.
“If your problem is not urgent and has been present for a while, your GP will be able to refer you to the right specialist for treatment.”
Latest figures from the Trust for January reveal a 12 per cent increase in overall emergency attendances across Northumberland and North Tyneside compared to January 2015.
Of the 12,911 emergency attendances at Northumbria Healthcare in January 57 per cent were at the new Northumbria hospital and 43 per cent were at Urgent Care Centres in Wansbeck, North Tyneside and Hexham general hospitals.
Of the 7,380 people who attended the new Northumbria Hospital, 64 per cent were brought by emergency blue light ambulance or arrived after emergency GP referral while more than 2,600 people attended themselves as ‘walk-in’ patients and many could have been more promptly looked after at a local urgent care centre instead.