Health chiefs are reminding people that the NHS is still here for them and not to delay treatment if they really need it.
Clinical lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS), Professor Chris Gray, said: “It’s important for our communities to know that the NHS is here for them, if they need it. If you’re seriously ill please don’t delay because you’re concerned about putting pressure on our services or frightened because of COVID-19.
“There is some evidence to show that the number of people attending emergency departments with heart attacks and strokes is lower than normal. So today we want to make sure that there isn’t any confusion in our communities about what people should do if they really need the help of the NHS.
“There are a lot of messages out there so it can be confusing. While we have asked people to use services sensibly and postponed non-urgent appointments and operations – we are here if you need us, please don’t delay seeking help.
“If you need treatment please be reassured our services are organising themselves so that care can be provided in non-COVID areas and staff are following the strictest infection control guidelines.”
Commenting on new PPE guidance issued yesterday, Professor Chris Gray, said: “This new guidance is really welcome and I hope provides further assurances to our front-line teams.
“Across our region we have been working hard to ensure equipment gets to our front-line teams across our hospitals, care homes and primary care. New equipment is arriving all the time which is fantastic and there is a PPE national hotline which can deliver on the day if the need arises.
“We have had lots of offers of support from local businesses too. With this in mind we have agreed to have one central point where this will be co-ordinated so people can contact us easily. This includes a dedicated email and information on our website.”
Businesses who are interested in supporting the region can email email@example.com or visit nhsjoinourjourney.org.uk/key-documents-and-briefings/ppe/.