The region's NHS warns that pressures across A&E, urgent care and ambulance services are still at extreme levels.

The public are advised to only call 999 or visit A&E if their condition is a threat to life or limb. Patients can expect long waits as services focus their attention on the most urgent cases.

Levels of hospital admissions due to flu and Covid are increasing so it is more important than ever to get vaccinated.  

Dr Neil O'Brien, Medical Director for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), said:

"In common with the health and care system across the country, our A&E and ambulance services are under huge pressure. We are working hard to ensure that patients who need emergency care are seen as quickly as possible and are prioritising patient care as best we can based on their need.”

For life-threatening emergencies like chest pains, breathing difficulties or severe loss of blood, come forward for the emergency help you need. If you need advice for an everyday illness or injury, contact your local pharmacy or look at the self-care advice at You can also check your symptoms at, which will re-direct you to a health professional if you need treatment. Parents and families can also find valuable information from the Healthier Together website or app.

Cumbria is also seeing a steep rise in the numbers of people with flu and covid-19.

Flu can be very unpleasant but you should only dial 999 or come to A&E if you have sudden chest pain, have difficulty breathing or you start coughing up a lot of blood.

In most cases, there are things you can do yourself to help recover from flu symptoms such as drinking plenty of water and resting. A pharmacist can also recommend flu remedies.

If you have symptoms of flu and you’re worried about your baby or child’s symptoms; you’re 65 or over; you’re pregnant or you have a long term medical condition or weakened immune

If you do get ill and need advice check NHS.UK in the first instance, you can also use the NHS website to book your COVID-19 and flu vaccination

Cumbria’s director of public health, Colin Cox, has urged people to take precautions in order to stop the spread of these viruses further.  He said:

“As was predicted we’re seeing respiratory illnesses spreading rapidly right now, whether that’s covid, flu or just the common cold. For most of us, getting ill with these bugs is an unpleasant inconvenience, but for others the implications for their health are still serious. We also know it puts more pressure on the NHS at a time when it is already under severe strain.

“The things that people can do to prevent the spread of winter bugs are simple, and really just a common courtesy to other people: if you are ill, stay at home if you can; if you have to go out when you have a respiratory illness, then wear a mask when you are around people; and of course practise good hygiene, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and wash your hands regularly.

“These actions genuinely make a difference and I’d encourage everyone to do what they can to help prevent infections spreading.”

If you have not yet had your flu and, or covid vaccines you are still able to get yours through the national NHSflu vax 2023.jpg booking system.

Dr Neil O'Brien, added:

"It's not too late to have your flu jab and doing so will protect against severe illness and hospitalisation. Young children who are not likely to have come across the flu virus before, and could therefore become much more unwell, can be protected with a free flu nasal spray that is available for all children aged 2 & 3 from your local GP practice. Flu vaccination reduces the chance of kids and adults spreading flu to vulnerable loved ones.

"If it's not an emergency, please think about other services first, like your local pharmacy, GP or NHS 111 online."

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