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07
Nov

NHS campaigns on the “funny side” of incorrect usage of A&E


Campaign highlights incorrect use of NHS emergency services which could cost up to £100 million across England


A series of viral videos are headlining an NHS campaign launched today (Mon 7 Nov 2011) highlighting some of the most incorrect reasons for patients attending A&E.


Actors from stage and screen gave up their time free of charge to appear alongside NHS staff as characters, including women waiting for treatment for hair-dye disasters and botched false nails, a pushy mum desperate for her son to be seen by senior doctors for his diarrhoea, and even a man hoping A&E staff will turn their hands to helping out his poorly dog!


The more serious message is that cases such as these put added pressure on already busy A&E and 999 teams. In the North West alone, more than 400,000 people who could have been treated and advised by their local pharmacist or GP, or could have looked after themselves at home, went to A&E departments in the last 12 months.

Focusing on patients in the waiting rooms, the viewer can’t tell until the end of the films whether they’re in a vet’s surgery, X-factor audition, beauty salon – or a hospital. At the end of each, viewers are reminded that they should go to their local pharmacy for advice on treatment of very minor illnesses and injuries.


The videos, available on Youtube, are being distributed through social media, and also distributed for display at leading supermarket and pharmacy chains across the UK as part of the NHS’s annual “Choose Well” campaign. They have been launched to coincide with national Ask Your Pharmacist Week.


Every attendance at A&E in the UK costs a minimum of £59, and as many as one in four people who attend A&E could have been treated by their pharmacist or GP, or did not need any form of medical intervention. In the North West, this cost £20.9 million in the last year. Replicated across England, NHS North West economists say this equates to a cost of between £80 million and £100 million. Studies by other organisations have estimated even higher costs.


North West actors featured in the videos include Phil Broadbent, who has appeared in Shameless as well as ITV’s acclaimed drama Appropriate Adult, along with Salford GP and actor Dr Jenny Hayes. They were filmed on location at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Dr Mike Cheshire, Medical Director at NHS North West, had this to say: “The tales told in the videos are very funny, and they are extreme cases, but there are very serious issues behind them.

"Every single attendance at A&E costs a minimum of £59, and as many as one in four people who attend A&E could have been treated by their pharmacist or GP, or did not need any form of medical intervention.


“That puts an enormous and unnecessary strain on the NHS, and not just in financial terms. Every minute than an A&E doctor or nurse spends treating very minor problems reduces the time they can spend attending to those who have suffered heart attacks, strokes and life-threatening injuries.”


Watch the videos now at www.youtube.com/user/NWNHS

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