Monthly Archives: April 2019

Public asked to use 999 and Emergency Department services wisely

The region’s NHS is calling on people to use 999 and Emergency Departments (A&E) carefully as the region’s emergency services are facing extra pressures this week.

With several hospitals across the North East and North Cumbria reporting higher demand than usual, the NHS is asking everyone to think before dialling 999 or attending Emergency Departments.

Dr Stewart Findlay, Co-Chair of the North East and North Cumbria Urgent and Emergency Care Network, said: “Our emergency departments are very busy right now and we are calling on everyone in the region to think carefully about choosing the right service for your needs.

“Please only dial 999 or come to the emergency department if you are seriously unwell or need critical or life-saving treatment, so that our teams can concentrate on caring for those who need our help most.

“Many common health complaints can be treated at home, or with advice from a pharmacist, making sure that busy emergency departments can concentrate on patients with life-threatening conditions.

“If you need urgent medical care and your GP is not available, you can call NHS 111, where health advisors are available 24 hours a day.

“Community pharmacists are also highly trained and can provide confidential advice conveniently and without an appointment.

“You can also now access a GP in the evening or at weekends, through local extended access schemes booked through your GP practice.

“Please remember, Emergency Departments are for serious and life-threatening emergencies only. In these circumstances people shouldn’t hesitate to call 999 or go directly to their local Emergency Department (A&E).”

For pharmacy opening hours and health advice, visit: or

Spot the signs of dehydration

As the weather becomes warmer, it is vitally important to ensure we all don’t become dehydrated.

Dehydration is when we don’t drink enough fluids to maintain a healthy balance in our body.

Most people get dehydrated by not drinking enough fluids or by losing fluids and not replacing them.

Find out how you can avoid dehydration by reading our helpful leaflet!

Hydration Leaflet

Spread the self-care message this Spring

Spring is here and the trees and flowers are bursting  into life, which is very pretty to look at but makes many of us start to reach for the tissues as we start sneezing with hay fever symptoms.

Across the North East we are working with GP Practices, Pharmacies and A&Es to promote self-care of your symptoms where possible.

Many of us have had hay fever for years and know when is the right time to be starting to treat our symptoms. Anti-histamines, steroid nasal sprays, and eye drops are easily available over the counter at pharmacies and on the high street and can form part of looking after yourself without the need to attend for an appointment, or use NHS  resources to manage something you sort out yourself.

Community pharmacy can give advice about the products that are available for the symptoms you have if you are not a regular sufferer.

We are part of a social media campaign to spread these messages

Please help us to spread  the message and become a follower

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Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, did you know that Bowel Cancer is the UK’s second biggest killer cancer. This shouldn’t be the case since it is treatable and curable, especially when diagnosed at an early stage. Early diagnosis for Bowel Cancer and any other types of cancer saves lives. This is the reason why April has been set aside to educate the public and raise awareness of Bowel Cancer symptoms.

Last year we told you about the catchy song and video developed to encourage testing and made by Middlesbrough Public Health and South Tees CCG.   You can still watch this here: v=FatpjUDcqD0

Finding cancer as soon as possible means it is easier to treat. So if you have any of the following symptoms contact your GP practice for an appointment:

  • Bleeding from the bottom and blood in poo
  • Persistent and unexplained change in how often you open your bowels
  • Sudden and unexplained weight loss
  • Being easily fatigued with no obvious reason or cause
  • Pain or a lump in the tummy

Getting seen by a health professional early when you have symptoms is great but bowel cancer is one of the cancers that we can find by doing a screening test before you’ve even got symptoms. If you are invited for a bowel screening test –DO IT- it could save your life!

For more information visit our campaign website or to request a bowel screening kit or ask any questions phone 0800 707 60 60

Durham, Tees and Darlington Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) working together – information for patients

The five Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) across Durham, Darlington and Tees continue to work together following the appointment of Dr Neil O’Brien as single Accountable Officer and the two Chief Officers Nicola Bailey and Dr Stewart Findlay in September 2018.

The five CCGs are:
 NHS Darlington CCG
 NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG
 NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG
 NHS North Durham CCG
 NHS South Tees CCG

A strong focus remains on developing local relationships and CCGs remain statutory bodies in their own right but working together has lots of benefits for the patients we serve.

Working together will also allow greater opportunities for addressing health inequalities for our populations and reducing waste.

The CCGs will also be working together to contribute to supporting a bigger, more complex planning footprint working with providers of services, partner organisations and key stakeholders within the geography of the Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs). For more information on these please visit

Our staff remained focused on the delivery of CCG priorities keeping patients at the heart of what they do.

To ensure that people have a chance to influence NHS plans Healthwatch have been asked by NHS England to do a public survey.

The feedback from the survey responses will be used to inform services locally, and will also be used as part of a national campaign to influence the NHS Long Term Plan. To complete the survey please click on the link here:

Please submit your responses by April 30 2019.

South Tees CCG Easter Pharmacy Opening Times

If you become unwell over the Easter weekend, your pharmacy is a great place to visit for professional advice on ailments such as coughs and colds. Make sure you know the opening times!

South Tees Easter Pharmacy Opening Times