Hartlepool residents are being urged to help ease pressure on emergency services over the August bank holiday weekend.
NHS England is asking people to see a pharmacist or make an appointment to see a GP for non-emergency health issues.
Although some GP practices are closed over the weekend, residents will still be able to access a GP appointment or pharmacist if they’re in need of advice or treatment for a wide range of minor illnesses or ailments.
For those in need of urgent advice for something serious, but are not sure whether to go to A&E, the NHS 111 service provides advice from qualified clinicians and in some cases can even make a GP appointment direct.
For most people, this will mean quicker treatment than attending an A&E department.
Professor Chris Gray, NHS England’s medical director for Cumbria and the North East, said: “Emergency departments get extremely busy during holiday periods, and we want to ensure that people who can be cared for elsewhere are not waiting at A&E.”
Residents are also asked to pick up their prescriptions early before the holiday weekend begins.
He added: “In all cases, if you think someone is more seriously injured or ill, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.”
About 18 million GP appointments and 2.1 million visits to A&E are for self-treatable conditions at a cost of more than £850 million each year to the NHS.