SATURDAY'S front page story about a suggested pilot scheme to ban people from attending hospital accident and emergency departments without first being referred by a GP or the 111 non-emergency service led to a flood of comments on The Northern Echo's Facebook page. Below, in a Hear All Sides special, we publish a selection of the views.

Jane Boynes: Who is going to answer all these calls? There's no GPs on a weekend so 111 are going to be too overloaded to answer calls. People are going to die waiting to see if they can go to A&E.

Andy S Gibson: Too many repeat offenders use A&E like their doctors'. These people need to be refused use of A&E and referred to alternative medical care.

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Joy Thompson: It would be interesting to see the numbers for re-admittances due to early discharge.

Lesley Waters: It would result in more people calling ambulances when they don't really need them. Ambulances are already overstretched.

Laura Brennan: My daughter has been admitted to hospital for a couple of days on two occasions. Both were walk-ins. I suppose if we weren't allowed to walk in we would have had to call an ambulance as it was urgent. Shame because that's taking up an ambulance that could be used elsewhere. I don't like this idea at all.

Carole Brice: Crazy idea but need some help to deal with walk-in drunks and druggies who self inflict their illnesses and are basically looking for a bed for the night.

Michelle Wakelam: I overheard a conversation yesterday – a lady was telling a shop assistant that she couldn't get a doctor's appointment for her granddaughter's sore throat so she took her to A&E. I had to bite my tongue. In 30 years I have been to A&E four times, twice for myself and twice for my husband. There should be more triage nurses to help the flow. We waited two hours just to see a triage nurse the last time we went. But I totally agree that if it's cold and flu people should be sent home or charged for the service.

Maxine Copeland: I absolutely hate those who waste the time and resources of A&E for things that could be treated at home with the advice from a pharmacy.

Kelly Davies: The issue you have in Darlington is they have removed the walk-in urgent care system and placed it in the hospital. You can't get an appointment with your normal GP and when you use the doctors' website for pre bookable appointment there is nothing free for nearly a month. As long as people don't abuse A&E for the daft little things continue to allow people to turn up without referral.

Catherine Edmondson: Isn't A&E for walk-in emergencies or am I missing something?

Samantha Dawes: If they advertised the evening and weekend GP service that runs at the old walk-in centre better some people might stop using A&E when they can't get in with their normal surgery.

Kevin Smith: So more pressure on the stretched ambulance service to ferry these people in who don't need emergency ambulance aid but need medical attention.

Ian Bussey: Stupid idea, here is a better idea, get the Conservatives out of power and the Labour Party in power and fund our NHS properly.

Christine Brown: As we don't have A&E at Bishop our doctors' always advise to ring 111. Yes it takes time but not as long as travelling to Darlington to wait for hours, when you don't actually need to be there. A&E needs to be for emergencies only, no appointment required.

June Brown: The trouble is half the time who knows what is an emergency and what is not? Yes the system is abused by some, but why waste time with 111 if there is an emergency like a bang on the head that actually looks okay? We cannot take the risk especially with children.

Chloe Bean: There should be a limit to how many times a month people go to A&E. If they need to go again the doctors should refer.

Tracey Iceton: A&E is for emergencies and not a system to be abused. Its not for colds and flu. Your GP can deal with that.

Ste Caddy: It's suggested you ring 111 first. I have rung 111 in the past. I was told: "If your condition worsens or you pass out ring us back." So I'm not brimming with confidence that they are a good place to start.

Nigel Teece: A&E should be for the letters it refers to not for trivial time wasters draining away valuable time and resources.

Carol Greenwood: 111 send more people to A&E than necessary because they are terrified to make a wrong diagnosis.

Rachel Steven Middleton: This punishes sensible people for the acts of the stupid. Charge for inappropriate attendances or refuse to treat them altogether and stop free transport home. The numbers of people with non-emergencies will soon drop off.

Leanne Ingham: Patients cause the issues, saying they can't get an appointment, however in the last month they've missed several and that's a lot of wasted time and money and they think that's perfectly okay.

Phil Spencelayh: Surely the point of visiting A&E is that it is very often an Emergency possibly resulting from, for instance an Accident. No time to wait three weeks to see your GP.

Alec Noble: Charge for A&E access then if you needed to be there refund it. If it didn't happen today go to your GP. Emergencies don't happen three weeks ago.

Mark Malik: If it stops idiots going in with broken fingernails it's okay but if I cut my thumb off I'm not calling an NHS line to be referred to A&E. Proper education is needed.

Paul Wheeler: I think if people feel they need medical help they should be able to turn up for it. For free. If there is "nothing wrong with them" it may be that they need help in other ways, they may be depressed, lonely, scared. All these things are problems that could and should be referred and dealt with, But if people stay at home people could end up with worse mental health problems. The problem is money and understaffing. That is a direct result of Tory policy. Here you all are saying people should pay for "wasting time". Saving someone's worries is not a waste of time.

Stirling Harpur: If we could get seen by someone to get referred we wouldn't use A&E the way many people do. Having said that, when people abuse the system, and millions do each year, they can only expect to be treated that way and it's their own damn fault.

Sar Cook: So that's going to put more pressure on ambulance crews, if they can't get through the door they're going to call 999. There are so many people who if they were supported in other areas of their physical and mental health they wouldn't be clogging up A&E. Just plugging another hole in the dam.