Published on: 26 March 2024

NHS leaders have issued a plea for support ahead of the Easter Bank Holiday as their A&E departments are already under great pressure. 

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has joined other NHS organisations across the region to urge people to be prepared for the long Bank Holiday.

It comes as Emergency Departments at Sunderland Royal Hospital and South Tyneside District Hospital are already under significant pressure today, Tuesday, March 26.

People are being urged to think twice before attending the Emergency Department and warned that they will face long waits to be seen if they arrive with a minor problem that could be better treated elsewhere.

Those in a life, limb or sight threatening condition are urged to seek help, but anyone else is likely to face a long wait to be seen and could still be asked go elsewhere for treatment.

Dr Shaz Wahid is the Trust's Executive Medical Director.

He said:

"The Easter Bank Holiday is not even here yet and our departments are already extremely busy.

"Please think about where is the right place for you to be treated before coming to us.

"Our priority is to deal with those who are most unwell or hurt.

"It is possible people may still be then asked to seek care elsewhere after a long wait, so we can concentrate on those who need our help first, so anyone who is facing threat to life, limb or sight should absolutely come to us.

"Otherwise, NHS 111 Online is always the best place to start to seek advice. It will help direct you to the right place for care, if you need to be seen, as well as lots of information about what you can do to treat a minor injury or illness."

He added as the weekend approaches, now is the right point to prepare for the long weekend, with most shops to be closed on Easter Sunday and reduced hours on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

He said:

"If you need to restock any prescription medications, there should still be time to get your repeat request in with your surgery.

"It's always a good idea to make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked with useful items such as painkillers, plasters, indigestion and anti-diarrhoeal remedies at any time. 

"Pharmacies will also be available and the Find a Pharmacy page online is helpful in finding somewhere open close to you.

"Most of all, we want people to enjoy the long weekend, so these tips can be a help in making sure you have a good Easter break and also help us manage demand for our frontline services."

Health advice and information is also available via the NHS App or the NHS website, or from your local GP practice website, which link to a range of online services, and in most cases, you can order repeat prescriptions online.

For children’s health advice you can download the Little Orange Book - with tips about a wide range of illnesses and conditions by clicking here.

Those looking after children can also visit the Healthier Together website through this link or download the app via their phone.

British Sign Language (BSL) speakers can make a BSL video call to 999.

Deaf people can use 18000 to contact 999 using text relay.

If you are concerned about how much you, or someone you know, drinks, there’s lots of help available.

Speak to your GP, find your local alcohol support service, or contact Drinkline on freephone 0300 123 1110 or Alcoholics Anonymous on 0845 769 7555.

To visit the NHS Find a Pharmacy page visit this page.