Alex Cunningham says “Do your bit – keep A&E free for emergencies and protect the NHS”

Alex is joining health leaders from across the North East and asking everyone to do their bit by thinking pharmacy, GP and 111 before turning up to A&E

The plea comes as the first part of the Do Your Bit campaign – a refresher in the routes people should take to access medical advice and treatment after the disruption caused by Covid-19.

As a result of the need for social distancing and infection precautions, space available in A&E departments to care for patients and to allow NHS staff to work safely has seen a reduction between 30 and 50%. This means its more important than ever to seek medical advice in the correct place first.

Many people who turn up to A&E could have their medical needs addressed more appropriately by contacting their pharmacist, GP or 111 first. The NHS 111 service can make direct appointments at doctor’s surgeries, pharmacies and urgent treatment centres. They can also send out ambulances should it be needed.

If people are critically ill – if the condition or serious or life-threatening – 999 should still be called.

Speaking in support of the Do Your Bit campaign, Alex says:

“We’ve seen incredible support for the NHS in recent months as all their staff have worked extremely hard to see the country through the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, as winter approaches, we must all do our bit to protect the NHS and each other.

“By thinking of alternative services to A&E, people will be able to access the most suitable treatment in a timely manner, in the most appropriate place. This will help stop the spread of coronavirus and keep A&E for real emergencies.

“I’d like to thank NHS workers for all their hard work over the last several months. Now I’m asking that each of us play our role in keeping them safe by making the right choices when accessing healthcare.”