Public asked to choose wisely before using A&E services this Christmas

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is reminding people to use emergency and primary care services wisely this Christmas as hospitals see increasing pressures in the colder months and over the holiday period.

Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments should only be used for serious health emergencies such as breathing problems, severe chest pain, unconsciousness, suspected stroke, severe blood loss and broken bones.

Dr Jim Shawcross, consultant physician at the Trust, said:

“Winter is our busiest time of year in our Accident & Emergency departments therefore we would to take this opportunity to remind people that A&E is for serious or life-threatening emergencies only. There are other routes we encourage patients to use for non-emergency health issues, such as seeing a pharmacist, GP or by calling 111, over the Christmas and New Year period. In most cases, this will mean they receive the advice and care they need much quicker.

“We want to ensure our attention is focused on patients who really need emergency care so they can receive the quickest possible treatment. We also do not want people who can be cared effectively elsewhere waiting in our A&E departments.

“We would also ask anyone who is feeling unwell to please avoid visiting relatives or friends who are in hospital.”


Pharmacists can provide instant, confidential advice and treatment for minor illnesses, without the need to make an appointment. Advice for parents is also available on the free NHS child health app. The app has been developed by doctors, health visitors and pharmacists and can be downloaded from Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

NHS England is also encouraging people to ensure that their medicine cabinet and first aid kits are well stocked before the festive period and that repeat prescriptions are collected well before Christmas and New Year.

Anyone who needs medical advice or guidance can call NHS 111 where they will be directed to the right type of service, including CHOC – Cumbria’s out of hours’ doctor service.

For more winter health advice and information, including treating everyday winter illnesses and where to go to for help visit: