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'Unprecedented demand' affecting Gateshead hospital

NHS bosses in Gateshead have warned that "winter pressures are already affecting us" and urged patients to think before attending A&E at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

An ambulance outside Gateshead's Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Credit: ITV News

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust said it had already experienced a day of "unprecedented demand" on Monday 21 November, when 414 people attended urgent and emergency care, compared to around 314 on a normal day.

Many had slipped, tripped or fallen in icy conditions.

"Winter pressures are already affecting us at QE Gateshead and we are working hard with our many partners to ensure we continue to provide safe and sustainable services to our patients. Like many health systems up and down the country, demand for care is increasing and both our NHS trust and the local authority are stretched in terms of budget and resource. Patients can help us by seeking help and advice for minor ailments from other providers before attending A&E. In this way, 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. It is also really important that people protect themselves against the flu, which will also help to ease the pressure on hospital services."

– Nichola Kenny, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust