Health and social care leaders in Sunderland are asking the public for support as services across the City come under record levels of pressure.  As the festive period approaches, all health and social care services are experiencing the highest levels of pressure ever seen in the run up to Christmas.


There is huge demand on all services from people needing to speak to their GP practice, those in need or urgent or emergency care in hospital and people needing social care support at home.


Health and social care staff across the City are working tirelessly to make sure everyone gets the care and support they need but leaders are now urging the public to take action themselves to help ease the pressure:


  • Use for self-care advice on any minor illnesses
  • Visit your local pharmacy and stock up your medicines cabinet Visit: to find your nearest pharmacy)
  • Call on any vulnerable friends, neighbours or relatives to make sure they are ok and have everything they need
  • If you are eligible for the free flu and Covid vaccines please get these ASAP. Visit for Covid vaccine clinics. Speak to your GP or a pharmacist about the flu jab.
  • If you think you need urgent help, use the 111 online symptom checker first before dialling 111
  • Please only use 999 or the emergency department for serious or life threatening emergencies.
  • If you are visiting a loved one in hospital you will be required to wear a facemask.
  • Please do not visit loved ones in hospital if you have had sickness or diarrhoea in the past 48 hours. Or if you have a cough, cold or flu like symptoms or if you have tested positive for COVID in the last 7 days.


As all parts of the health and social care system manage this extreme and unrelenting pressure, people are being advised that they will experience longer waits and changes to their usual level of service.  Leaders in the City are calling on the public for support to get through this challenging period and asking people to be patient and kind to staff.


Dr Fadi Khalil, a local GP and Medical Director of All Together Better Sunderland said:  “Sunderland is under a lot of pressure right now and we really do need everyone’s support.  Our priority is to keep everyone as safe as possible and respond as best we can in these very testing circumstances.


“We’re working hard to ensure that patients who need our help continue to get the support they need as quickly as possible.  But we’re also asking the public to help us too by keeping emergency services free for people who are critically ill or injured and choosing the right service for their needs.


“Inevitably at times of pressure this will impact on how we are able to deliver services.  People attending hospital, waiting for a GP appointment or receiving care at home will need to be prepared for delays and disruption.  I would urge everyone in our communities to lend your support and kindness to our teams working extra hard during these difficult times.”


Graham King, Director of Adult Social Care at Sunderland City Council said:  “The pressures facing the NHS are equally felt right across our social care system and we’d like to thank people and communities for their support as we manage this exceptionally busy period.


“We will continue to prioritise care and support for those most in need and would like to thank all staff for the way they continue to respond as unprecedented numbers of people need the help and support from health and social care services.”