Trust urges responsible use of NHS resources

Only 26% of people admitted urgently to Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals required urgent treatment Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has experienced its busiest winter on record, with 9,000 more people accessing urgent and emergency care services between January and March 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.

In total, the trust recorded over 43,000 urgent and emergency care attendances during the first quarter of 2016 - 55% at the new Northumbria hospital and 45% at urgent care centres in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck. Only 26% required emergency hospital admission.

The trust is calling upon the public to act responsibly when it comes to using NHS services and, crucially, to keep The Northumbria hospital free for those who are seriously ill or injured and who clearly require immediate medical help.

People should not attend the new Northumbria hospital for sore throats, small cuts, or for on-going medical problems which are best looked after in primary care via their GP or, simply, by looking after themselves well, practising good self-care, or talking to a pharmacist for advice.

Dr Chris Biggin, clinical director for emergency care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We'd urge the public to help us by using the right service for the severity of their symptoms and acting responsibility when using the NHS. Our message is really quite simple - please do not attend The Northumbria hospital for any minor ailments which are not serious emergencies as our teams are very busy looking after very poorly people.

"If you cannot look after yourself by practising good self-care, or feel you cannot wait for a GP appointment, our urgent care centres are open 24/7 and are the place to go if you have any minor injuries. You will be seen more promptly without having to wait behind serious emergencies with the majority of patients seen, treated and on their way home in less than one and a half hours."

The trust's chief executive, Mr David Evans, has this week thanked all staff, onbehalf of the trust board, for their efforts during what he described as a 'huge' and 'intense' increase in demand.

Mr Evans said: "The scale of this increased and intense demand for services, not only at Northumbria but across the whole of the NHS, has been huge over the past few months and the response from our teams has been quite exceptional.

The Northumbria hospital treats serious emergencies such as:

  • Suspected stroke

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Persistent and severe chest pain

  • Sudden shortness of breath

  • Severe abdominal pain

  • Severe blood loss