Wiltshire GPs in move to avoid winter stress at A&E departments

Wiltshire Times: The CCG is hoping to avoid unnecessary trips to A&E departments this winter The CCG is hoping to avoid unnecessary trips to A&E departments this winter

GPs from the NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group are urging people to make sure they choose the most appropriate care for their ailments this winter.

This week the Clinical Commissioning Group launches its ‘Choose Well This Winter’ campaign with a series of posters, leaflets and information on websites, giving people advice about how to choose the best form of treatment for their condition.

Winter pressures in the NHS are nothing new and despite considerable planning at a local as well as a national level the NHS faces considerable challenges.

Cold weather and viruses lead to an increase in the number of people, particularly those with a respiratory condition - being admitted to hospital as an emergency.

Many of those most affected tend to be elderly and vulnerable patients who have increased care needs as much as a medical need.

For example, for those over the age of 75 years there is a greater than 80 per cent chance of needing admission from A&E, whereas for the under 30, it is less than 20 per cent.

The demand in winter for A&E trolley space and beds for those who need emergency care can be eased by people seeking help from their GP, NHS 111 or the pharmacist for common ailments and less urgent conditions.

‘Choose Well This Winter’ signposts the range of care options available, according to need, to help avoid unnecessary attendances at Accident and Emergency departments.

Dr Toby Davies, a Wiltshire GP and a director of Wiltshire CCG Governing Body said: “We know there are times when people genuinely need to attend A&E because their condition is serious or life-threatening.

"However, when it’s a simple cough or cold, upset stomach or something like a sprained limb, we really need people to find the most appropriate way to treat that ailment.

Page 2/2 Going to A&E isn’t the right place for minor illnesses, but your GP, NHS 111 or your local pharmacist will be able to help. Also, it’s not too late for people with under lying health problems to get a flu jab if they have not so far, as flu in the vulnerable is a particular and preventable problem.

In addition, as the weather turns colder, people can help elderly and frail neighbours or friends; if they are feeling unwell, seek early help and advice. ”

As Christmas approaches, if you are feeling unwell, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice and look out for the Choose Well This Winter information in your GP surgery, on the CCG website and in council offices and libraries. You can also contact the CCG for copies of the information by calling 01380 733766 or emailing WCCG.info@nhs.net

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