NHS issues plea to residents ahead of busy Easter period

People across the North East are being asked to help ease the pressure on NHS accident and emergency services over the Easter holiday weekend.

Saturday, 8th April 2017, 07:33 am
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 21:21 pm
NHS England

To help ease the pressure at a very busy time of year for A&E departments, the NHS is asking people with non-emergency health issues to call 111 to make a GP appointment or to visit a local pharmacy.

In most cases, this will mean they receive the most appropriate advice and care much quicker.

Although some GP practices and pharmacies are closed over Easter, the NHS has been working to ensure people will be able to access a GP appointment or pharmacist should they need one.

Chris Gray, medical director for NHS England Cumbria and the North East, said: “If people have a non-emergency health problem over the Easter weekend, they should please call 111 to make an appointment with a GP. By doing this, they will receive the most appropriate care and advice and, in most cases, will be seen quicker than if they go to an A&E department.

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“Pharmacists can also provide instant, confidential advice and treatment for minor illnesses, without the need to make an appointment.

“This is a plea for people to use our NHS services responsibly to make sure that NHS staff, who work incredibly hard around the clock, can provide appropriate care to patients. Our A&E departments can get extremely busy over bank holidays and we want to ensure that patients who really need emergency care receive the quickest possible treatment they need.”

Advice for parents is also available on the free NHS child health app. The app has been developed by doctors, health visitors and pharmacists and can be downloaded from Google Play or Apple’s App Store, search for NHS child health.

People are also being asked to make sure that their medicine cabinet and first aid kits are well stocked before Easter arrives and that repeat prescriptions are collected well before the bank holiday weekend.

Many urgent care and walk-in centres will also be open. To find out which services are open and at what times, call 111.

For local pharmacy opening hours, over the Easter period, people should log onto


People can access information about walk-in centres, urgent care centres or minor injuries units by logging onto The NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk. They can type in their postcode on the website to find their nearest services.