Monthly Archives: January 2019

South Tees Patients Urged To Use NHS Services Wisely as Weekend Cold Snap Bites

Patients in South Tees are being urged to choose the most appropriate level of care for their health needs as the cold snap bites this weekend.

Rather than immediately visiting A&E, there are a number of suitable alternatives for patients across the Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland area.

Many health problems could be better and faster managed by using self-care,primary care services such as GPs, pharmacists or by calling NHS 111.

Dr Janet Walker, Chair at NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), explained the different options for patients.

She said: “Local pharmacists are highly trained and can offer expert advice on common illnesses such as colds and sore throats.

“For an illness or injury that won’t go away such as a fever or unexplained pain, make an appointment with your GP. Did you know evening and weekend appointments are also available for all patients via the STAR service GP extended hours hubs?  Appointments can be accessed via your own GP practice.

“For sprains and strains, Redcar Minor Injury Unit is open seven days a week from 8am to 9.30pm.

“If you have an urgent medical need which can’t wait, call NHS 111 for free. 111 can be accessed 24 hours a day and staffed by highly trained call handlers supported by clinicians.

“By taking the time to think about the different NHS services available, we can all help everything run smoothly and keep A&E free for emergencies and life-threatening situations.”

Emergency teams at The James Cook University Hospital have experienced an increasing number of inappropriate attendances this winter for complaints such as sore throats, colds and earache.

Siobhan McArdle, Chief Executive of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “In terms of total A&E attendances, we have seen a six per cent increase in post-Christmas attendances against the annual average and activity has stepped up across both The James Cook University Hospital and Friarage Hospital sites.

“We are currently very busy across the organisation, particularly at James Cook, but that is not unusual for this time of year.

“We have, however, also seen a 16 per cent increase in ambulance attendances post-Christmas, with exceptionally high numbers on both the 26 and 30 December. The level and intensity of the care that these patients require, however, has reduced, which suggests that some people could be more appropriately managed by primary care services.

“We have seen a 28 per cent increase in major trauma and resuscitation activity post-Christmas, but this is in line with our expectations as the region’s major trauma centre.

“We are also now seeing a seasonal increase in cases of flu, so please get your flu jab.

“We would appeal to the public to help us reduce the number of inappropriate attendances at A&E and to keep A&E for genuine emergencies.”

Evening and weekend GP appointments can now be booked with STAR GP extended hours hubs via GP surgeries in Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland.

For more information on the different healthcare options available for patients, visit

Healthier You: Diabetes Prevention Programme

NHS England and partners have launched the ‘Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme’ (NDPP) to help people who are at risk of developing Type 2.

In the UK, around 22,000 people with diabetes die early every year and five million people in England are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

While Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, Type 2 is largely preventable through lifestyle changes.

The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme identifies people at high risk and offers them support to make positive changes to their lifestyle to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

If you haven’t been referred to Healthier You but you’re interested in the service, the first step is to check if you’re at high risk. Visit the ‘Know Your Risk’ tool at and find out if you are at risk of getting Type 2.

The programme is a partnership between NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK, working with private providers and local authorities. The service is being delivered in Northern England by Ingeus UK.

If you haven’t been referred to Healthier You but you’re interested in the service, the first step is to check if you’re at high risk. Visit the ‘Know Your Risk’ tool at and find out if you are at risk of getting Type 2.

For more information visit: or contact your GP Practice

A few seconds of discomfort could save your life!

I talked last week about health lifestyle choices and trying to prevent illness happening. This  week I have received my invitation for cervical screening – or ‘smear test’ .

Now this is a good example of prevention. For us ladies the cervix is the neck of the womb and having some cells taken from there by the use of a small brush can detect any early signs of cell changes that could if left unchecked possibly develop into cancer.

The test is not looking for cancer, it’s looking for changes that can be treated to stop cancer developing. You are invited for testing every 3 years between 25 and 49 and then once every 5 years from 50 to 64 years.

I don’t know anyone that enjoys going for the test, but I’ll be booking my appointment to have it done. If I’m honest the letter and book I  received from the screening programme was quite long and detailed, sometimes I  wonder if a message along the lines of ‘get the test done; a few seconds of discomfort could save your life’  would encourage some ladies to make the appointment  and have it done.

Across South Tees surgeries are trying many different ways to make it easier for women to have the test, you can ask your GP surgery about having it taken in the extended hours GP hubs if family or work commitments mean this could be easier for you.

New Year resolution

As  we are into the first week of the New Year how are you all doing with any New Year’s resolutions?  I can honestly say that I have never really been one for holding with this tradition, but this year I have realised that approaching 50 I  really  do need to make sure I’m taking health lifestyle choices, walking rather than taking the car, using the stairs and not the lift, getting at least my 5 a day fruit and vegetables, and stopping dusting  my exercise bike seat  because I’ll have been using it rather than having to clean it!

I’ve got friends and colleagues doing dry January – if this is you too- good luck, if you think you could be drinking too much you probably are, especially as now the advice  is that there is not  a safe amount of alcohol to drink, so all reductions would be beneficial.. If you are trying to stop smoking – never too late to stop or to try again to stop and lots of help and support available- visit For smoking cessation.  Whatever you have thought about doing to look after yourself the NHS would encourage you to give it your best shot as preventing illness is what we should all be doing more of.