Winter pressures

All hospitals face increased pressures during the winter months.

Bugs like flu and Norovirus, accidents related to the icy weather and greater numbers of people being admitted with respiratory problems and other illnesses associated with colder temperatures all play their part in increasing demand for our services.

As a major trauma centre The James Cook University Hospital in particular is busy all year around, but we would like to assure our patients we do carry out contingency planning for all our hospital services well ahead of the winter months in the knowledge that all our services are busier than usual during this time.

In recent years, the trust has invested in increased medical and nursing support and equipment aimed at helping us to treat patients more efficiently and ensure patients can be discharged as soon as they are well enough.

Our Rapid Access Frailty Assessment (RAFA) unit and discharge lounge also help with this, as well as our work with social care and third sector partners such as the Middlesbrough Staying Put Agency and Carers Together.

How you can help

Choosing the right service for your needs:

Help reduce pressures on our emergency departments by considering whether you could be treated at any of the following instead:

Check on elderly neighbours

As we see increasing numbers of older people in our hospitals at this time of year, it’s vital we all encourage our elderly neighbours and relatives to take good care of themselves and keep their houses warm.

Check in on any elderly neighbours or relatives regularly, especially those who live alone, as this can also help prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.

Flu campaign

Vaccinations are vital to protect staff, their families and their patients, many of whom are particularly vulnerable to flu.


#DontSpreadTheDread - help us to protect our patients and staff at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust against norovirus - the UK's most common stomach bug.

THINK! Beyond the Emergency waiting room

Have you ever been frustrated sitting in the waiting room of our emergency department while “nothing seems to be happening” and the queue just grows and grows? Think beyond those waiting room doors. Think Major Trauma Centre for the whole region.

Need to see a GP quickly - STAR GP hubs

The South Tees Access and Response (STAR) scheme has been set up by GPs to improve access to GP services outside the current core hours of care. The scheme extends GP opening hours providing access from 6.30pm to 9.30pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 8pm on weekends and bank holidays.

Child Health App provides advice at your fingertips

A new child health app available for all smartphones provides medical advice and reassurance at the fingertips of parents with children under 5. Parents and carers can now find NHS advice on many common childhood illnesses, so you know when you need to seek further medical advice from a pharmacy, GP or hospital - or how you can care for your child at home until they recover.

Winter self care advice

Are you and your home #winterready? Keeping warm during winter is one of the simplest things you can do to protect your health and Stay Well This Winter.