Patients should attend NHS appointments unless they have heard otherwise during the industrial action by nurses this week.
Industrial action by the Royal College of Nursing will affect two NHS hospital trusts in the region – County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust and those run by South Tees Hospitals on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 January.
Dr Neil O’Brien, executive medical director for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: “Plans are in place for those hospitals affected by strike action this week to ensure the safety and wellbeing of patients and staff.
“Patients should attend appointments as planned unless they hear from the NHS to say otherwise. We will be re-arranging any postponed appointments as a priority.
"Emergency and urgent care services will remain open. If someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, please call 999.
“We are expecting services to be very busy, so we are asking the public with non- life-threatening illnesses and injuries to use 111.nhs.uk, which is available 24 hours a day, or contact their local community pharmacist or GP practice.
GP practices, urgent treatment centres, dentists and community pharmacies will be operating as normal during the strike action.
The strikes on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 will last for 12 hours each, though it may take slightly longer for services to return to normal afterwards.