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  1. ITV Report

People with life threatening symptoms urged not to delay treatment during coronavirus outbreak

By Helen Ford, Health Correspondent

People suffering from life threatening health issues are being urged not to delay treatment because of concerns over coronavirus. The NHS says that across the North East, fewer patients are attending emergency departments with heart attacks and strokes. In fact, A and E units are described as being at their quietest in recent memory.

The NHS believes the reasons are twofold: firstly, people may be concerned about picking up coronavirus, and second, they want to avoid putting pressure on the system.

Professor Chris Gray from NHS England says that while the NHS is asking communities to use services sensibly, it is vital that those with urgent conditions are seen promptly.

It is important for our communities to know that the NHS is here for them, if they need it. If you're seriously ill please don't delay because you're concerned about putting pressure on our services or frightened because of COVID-19.

– Professor Chris Gray, NHS England

The type of symptoms regarded as emergencies include:

  • - chest pain- difficulty breathing
  • - unconsciousness
  • - severe burns
  • - severe loss of blood

The NHS says reluctance to attend A and E because of coronavirus doesn't stop with adult patients. There is also concern that parents are unwilling to take their children to hospital during the outbreak.

Children are likely to get other illnesses, have other presentations that need acute medical attention. We don't want people sitting at home, that don't want to bother us or worried about the impact that they will have on the NHS. If you're worried about your child, we strongly advise you to seek medical attention."

– Dr Jason Gane, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Prof Chris Gray says hospitals are set up to ensure that people arriving at ED will be seen away from coronavirus areas, with infection control measures in place.

Watch Helen Ford's full report below: