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Do you really need A&E?

In a joint statement, NHS professionals from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and the area's three Clinical Commissioning Groups - Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG, North Durham CCG and Darlington CCG - are urging patients to consider what healthcare services they genuinely need - before rushing to A&E.

"The emergency departments at University Hospital of North Durham and Darlington Memorial Hospital are seeing large numbers of patients and the departments are very busy.

"Medical teams within the hospitals are working extremely hard to provide patients with the best possible care, but we urgently need to remind the public that A&E is for serious accidents and life-threatening emergencies only.

"There are many other ways of getting the healthcare you need and many illnesses and injuries don't need to be treated in a hospital. There are other options available including your local GP practices and pharmacists, urgent care centres and walk-in centres or if you are unsure about which service you might need then the NHS 111 can offer advice.

"There are lots of very unwell people who do need our care and treatment. We are calling on the support of our local populations across County Durham and Darlington to allow us to look after the people who need us most.

"Please use A&E wisely and think carefully before attending hospital."

'I would like to thank all the staff for my treatment and their professionalism.'

Patient, Cardiology Department, Bishop Auckland Hospital