REGARDING reports about the NHS at breaking point and A&E departments being over-run in winter, I don’t understand why so many go to A&E with flu symptoms.

The flu vaccine is free for pensioners, and costs as low as £5 for anyone else.

All I’ve ever done is got to bed drink plenty of fluids and eventually it will pass.

I think a survey should be done.

Why not publish over a month - in numbers not percentages - how many categories are admitted, and I would bet a large number is to do with alcohol, which is not acceptable. Take alcohol admissions out and A&E will be a lot quieter.

John Brant, Darlington

AS AN an amputee I have an NHS provided wheelchair. From time to time a new cushion is required.

On ringing the given number you are greeted by a recording telling you among other things the office hours of 8.30am to 4.30pm.

The three calls I’ve made so far have been on separate days, midmorning and mid-afternoon and having to listen to the same advice.

I rang the Memorial Hospital switchboard, they tried and of course got the same response.

My requirement is certainly not urgent, but anyone who has a real problem would be in trouble.

Alec Telford, Darlington

TWO days after Christmas I received an unwanted gift...a heart attack.

Rather than call for an ambulance my husband took me to Darlington Memorial Hospital A & E and within an hour I was on my way to James Cook University Hospital and straight into the cardiac unit where I was given a stent and soon began to feel better.

Now home and recovering nicely I’d like to offer my thanks and gratitude to everyone who cared for me.

Everyone - paramedics, nurses, doctors, cleaners etc were absolutely wonderful in every way.

Diane Wilkinson-Blythe, Darlington