Northumbria Healthcare has taken temporary but necessary steps to ensure that the skills of vital urgent and emergency care nursing staff are maximised during what is expected to be an extremely busy winter for the NHS.

From Thursday 1 December, the opening times of the trust’s three urgent care centres at Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals will change from 24 hours a day, to become 8am to midnight, seven days a week.

This essential temporary measure is being taken as part of winter resilience planning across the NHS in Northumberland and North Tyneside and means that, highly-skilled nursing staff can be deployed where there is most demand on services from patients.

The trust is keen to emphasise that this is a temporary measure only.

It is being taken as part of proactive winter planning to ensure operational resilience, that vital nursing staff are concentrated where they are most needed overnight and to ensure that patients across Northumberland and North Tyneside have access to the highest possible quality and safety of care.

All three urgent care centres will continue to be open from 8am until midnight seven days a week, with a medical presence also on site from 9am until 10pm seven days a week.

Any patients in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck who need urgent help overnight when it is not a serious life threatening emergency, should call NHS 111 which is available 24/7.