Kevan has received the update below from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust:

Health and social care services across County Durham and Darlington are still ’here to help you’

Health officials in County Durham and Darlington are reminding people the NHS and health and social care services are still ‘here to help’ after concerns that people may be putting off using health services for illnesses not related to Coronavirus.

Despite mounting pressures across the UK, health chiefs are urging patients to continue to contact their local health services if they need medical help.

Jeremy Cundall, Executive Medical Director at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: “While we are very grateful to the public for their responsible use of the NHS at this time, and for continuing to follow the national ‘stay home’ guidance, we want to reassure our local populations that we are still here for you if you, your child or your relative becomes ill with non-COVID-19 symptoms.

“Do not delay seeking medical advice. If you need to come into our emergency departments, there are clear streams for those patients with possible COVID-19 symptoms and those who are otherwise unwell in order to keep these groups separate and minimise risk to all.

“Coronavirus is having a huge effect across the whole country but it has not taken away other health care needs and people should not ignore symptoms and hope they will go away or put off essential care such as childhood immunisations.

“We are starting to see late presentations of illnesses which actually make the condition harder to treat and is likely to require a longer admission into hospital.”

“Our staff are continuing to assess and admit children and young people who require urgent or emergency treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are also working closely with our GP colleagues to give advice, ensuring that children only attend hospital if absolutely necessary.

“The quicker people seek help the better their outcome is likely to be. You will not be wasting our time. It might not exactly be ‘business as usual, but it is extremely important that people continue to seek treatment for their ongoing health care needs.”

The advice is being echoed by the Trust’s stroke clinicians. Stroke Consultant Dr Gemma Smith, said: ““Strokes and TIAs will continue to strike indiscriminately, just as they did before Covid-19. These symptoms need urgent medical attention to start treatment quickly and prevent significant disability. People are encouraged to remember the FAST test as advertised on TV – Face, Arm, Speech, Time. If someone has a new droop to their Face, if they cannot lift their Arm properly or if their Speech is slurred or incomprehensible then it’s Time to call 999. If you are asked to attend the stroke unit urgently please be assured staff will only do so if there is no other option and will endeavour to provide protection from coronavirus whilst on the ward.”

Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for adults and health services, said: “It’s really encouraging that people are following the Government’s guidance to stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus and protect our NHS. However, it is important we continue to take care of our own health and our families’ health, especially if someone has an ongoing medical conditions or requires a vaccination.

“I would like to reiterate the messages of our NHS colleagues and urge you to continue to take up vaccinations, as these are vital to protect children against diseases, and to seek advice for other medical needs.”

GP services, pharmacies, NHS 111, out-of-hours services and emergency departments are still available to patients with all NHS staff following strict infection control measures.

GP practices have introduced safety measures to protect patients and staff with initial ‘triage’ assessments to enable practices to prioritise appointments for those most in need and allow health professionals to provide the most appropriate treatment.

Doctors’ are using telephone, online and in some cases video consultation appointments to ensure that continued care is provided to patients and health advice is also available by completing an online (eConsult) form on practice websites.

Repeat prescriptions can be requested online, or by using the NHS App.

Anyone not online can contact their surgery, who will advise them how to order their medication, patients are also being asked to plan ahead by ordering repeat prescriptions in advance to help ease pressure on community pharmacies.

To find out which pharmacies are open in which areas visit:

For urgent medical help people are asked to make use of their local minor injuries unit or urgent care centre where there are likely to be shorter waits but patients should still continue to dial 999 in the event of a life threatening emergency.

For further advice on how to best use the NHS, and ordering medicines online, visit:

For the latest advice on coronavirus including the symptoms and government restrictions visit




Kevan has received an update from the Co Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and changes they have introduced to help them to tackle the Coronavirus.

Kevan said:

“I would like to thank all NHS staff for the work they are doing alongside other key workers in these very difficult circumstances.”

The full statement from the Trust is available below:


Coronavirus Briefing

We wanted to take this opportunity to reassure you that, as an NHS Trust, we are well-prepared for, and responding to, the Covid-19 pandemic, which is obviously an evolving situation.   We are working closely with NHS England at a regional and national level and Public Health England, as well as our partners at a local level, to ensure a coordinated, collective response across health and social care.

As you will appreciate, to ensure we can continue to safely care for patients in the coming weeks and months we will need to make some changes to our services, including postponing some planned surgery at University Hospital of North Durham, Darlington Memorial Hospital and Bishop Auckland Hospital.  We will also be cancelling all outpatient review and routine appointments and are contacting patients as quickly as possible to make them aware and will contact them again at a later date to reschedule.  We apologise for the inconvenience this will cause.  We ask any patients with an x-ray or other imaging appointment who cannot attend due to isolating at home, to contact the radiology appointment to rearrange their appointment.

We have also introduced some changes at our two emergency departments in Durham and Darlington. This has created two streams for patients, one for respiratory patients and any cases of confirmed or suspected Covid-19 and one non-respiratory for all other patients. We have created two separate entrances at both hospitals for the two streams and these are now clearly signposted.

The Trust’s pandemic plan includes a number of ward moves and different management of patient pathways. The underlying aim is to increase capacity in ITU and the management of respiratory patients, manage flow taking into account segregation / and containment of covid patients whilst managing normal business.

From 30th March, Weardale Community Hospital, Richardson, Shotley Bridge and Sedgefield will open additional beds.

We have changed our visitors policy, which is available on our website at:  The changes are to restrict visiting to only one essential visitor per patient including to our emergency departments, for a maximum of one hour per day.

Please continue to signpost your constituents to the Public Health England website has the latest information and guidance on Coronavirus:

If you or anyone in your household has a high temperature or a new and continuous cough – even if it’s mild

  • They should stay at home for 7 days and keep away from others.
  • In addition, everyone in your household must stay at home for 14 days and keep away from others.
  • Go to NHS.UK to check your symptoms and follow the specialist medical advice.  Only call NHS111 if you can’t get online or your symptoms worse.

We’re all being asked to stop non-essential contact and stay at home wherever possible to help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

We are sharing key messages via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

This is an unprecedented situation and, like everyone else, our staff are understandably worried about their own health and that of their families and friends.  Despite this, they’re working hard, showing great flexibility and resourcefulness – we’re enormously proud of them.