Published on: 20 September 2019

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is appealing for the public’s support to help them deal with a rise in people accessing emergency care as the summer comes to a close.


The Trust is experiencing higher numbers of very ill patients in its emergency department at Sunderland Royal Hospital and is urging people to choose the right service for their needs and only come to hospital if they have a serious of life-threatening illness or injury.


Dr Sean Fenwick, Director of Operations for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The pressure on our emergency services is relentless and something we are now experiencing all year round. We really appreciate the support of people in our local communities in helping our emergency teams to treat patients with urgent and life-threatening illness and injury as quickly as possible.


“Unfortunately, we are still seeing large numbers of people attending our emergency departments at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital who should be using other services as they do not require urgent treatment. This can lead to longer waiting times and delays in treating those in most need.”


Self-care and visiting a pharmacist are options in the first instance for ailments which are common at this time of year, such as coughs and colds, upset stomachs and general aches and pains. If you really need to see a GP then they are providing more convenient appointment times for patients outside the standard working day by offering extended opening hours in the evenings and at weekends. If in doubt, the free NHS 111 number is available 24/7 for expert medical advice.


For details of opening times for local GPs and pharmacists, go to


How to use your NHS wisely, prevent illnesses getting worse and get well again sooner


·        If you have an urgent health need but are not sure if you need A&E, call NHS 111. You’ll speak to highly trained advisors, supported by healthcare professionals, who will assess your symptoms and direct you to the best care. They can access extended hours GP appointments when your GP is full and can provide an appointment, saving you from a potentially lengthy wait.

·        Don’t wait until you get worse, first see your local pharmacist who can provide expert, confidential advice and treatment for minor illnesses, such as sore throats, coughs, colds, upset stomach and aches and pains. Many minor ailments can be treated at home with over-the-counter medicines and a first aid kit. Stock up on paracetamol, ibuprofen, rehydration salts, bandages, plasters, thermometer etc.

·        Antibiotics don’t work for viruses – they can only treat bacterial infections. Illnesses like diarrhoea, vomiting, sore throats and colds are usually caused by a virus and you should normally feel better over a few days to a week. Symptoms can be treated at home with over-the-counter medicines.

·        The ‘NHS child health’ app has been developed by doctors, health visitors and pharmacists to help parents know what to do when their child is ill. You can download it from Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

·        If it is life-threatening or an emergency, call 999.