Choose Me Not A&E Summer 2015

Campaign to reduce pressure on A&E this summer

Holidaymakers and tourists will be encouraged to “Choose Me Not A&E” as part of a campaign to help people find the right NHS service for them this summer.  

The Choose Me Not A&E campaign aims to provide people with vital information about which health care service is right for the symptoms they have.

Dozens of people every month attend A&E at King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) but are sent home requiring no treatment.  

Others who wait for hours could receive more appropriate treatment closer to home, at pharmacies, local GP surgeries, or via the 111 service.  

The campaign is being led by West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (WNCCG) and Wisbech Local Commissioning Group, in collaboration with the QEH.  

Dr Sue Crossman, Chief Officer of WNCCG, said: “During the summer months visitors flock to this area to enjoy the coastal resorts and beautiful countryside. To ensure that both locals and visitors can always access the NHS services they need we want to encourage everyone to stop and think before going to A&E.  

“A&E is there for life-threatening emergencies such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attacks, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. If it is not a serious medical emergency, A&E is not the right choice.”  

Clive Walsh, Chief Operating Officer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: “People attending A&E who could obtain care elsewhere put undue pressure on both the department and the hospital as a whole. On many occasions it would have been better for the patient and the hospital if they sought treatment from a more appropriate service.  

“We want our staff to concentrate on those staff who really need their specialist expertise.”  

Terry Hicks, West Norfolk senior locality manager for the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST), said: “In Norfolk our 111 service can provide help and advice on a wide range of health conditions. Please only use 999 or A&E in an emergency - such if someone has collapsed and isn’t breathing – as if you arrive at A&E by ambulance you will still have to wait unless your condition is urgent. Make use of the great support out there from 111, GPs and pharmacists; they will get you the help you need and save you time.”

Choose Me Not A&E launched across West Norfolk and Wisbech on Monday, June 15 and will run until the end of August.  

Local people, as well as holidaymakers and tourists will be given information about summer health issues and where to go for help in the area.  

The message will be plain for all to see and hear, with advertising at train stations and bus stops, a billboard in West Street, Wisbech, and adverts on local radio station KL.FM. NHS staff will also be out and about in King's Lynn to help spread the message.

Choose Me Not A&E leaflets providing advice about summer health issues and where to go for help in the area will be readily available, and posters promoting the NHS 111 service and pharmacies will be displayed in GP surgeries, pharmacies and local groups and organisations.

Tourists staying at local holiday parks will be able to pick up a pamphlet containing summer health advice and details of local services and useful numbers.