NHS winter campaign

Health News from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter
Health News from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter

People living in Cambridgeshire are being encouraged to use the right health services for their health problems through an NHS winter campaign, ‘Choose Well.’

Last year poor use of A&E cost Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) £1.3million, this could have treated 360 heart attack patients or bought 230 hip replacements.

Research carried out by the CCG showed the highest numbers of people using A&E when they could use another service fell into the groups of young adults; children aged under 4; migrant workers; and foreign students. The ‘Choose Well’ campaign focuses on these four groups, with unique materials and information for them and special ‘characters’, which have been created to help people identify what local NHS services can treat.

* Pupils at nearly 40 secondary schools and sixth form colleges will receive postcards this week which will highlight each local NHS service and what conditions it can treat. It’s hoped it will illustrate the range of services available and the conditions that are really serious enough to visit A&E.

* For children under four there are special materials being produced for their parents. A new booklet about childhood illnesses is in the process of being created which will be distributed by health visitors; along with fliers sent to all schools, nurseries and baby and toddler clubs across the county.

* Materials about local health services will be translated into over 20 foreign languages which have been identified by talking to local GP practices about their registered patients’ requirements.

Other parts of the ‘Choose Well’ campaign include Facebook advertising aimed at certain groups of residents and bus shelter advertising placed in areas where it is known that people use A&E repeatedly when they don’t need to.

Dr Neil Modha, Chief Clinical Officer at the CCG, said: “A&E should only be used by people who are acutely ill or who have life threatening problems, such as stroke, blacking out or have severe blood loss. By using the right service, treatment can be given quicker to those in need of urgent care.

“If you go into hospital this winter, you should expect to be discharged as soon as you are medically fit as staying in hospital beyond this point is not in your best interests. It also reduces beds availability for patients who are ill and in need of hospital care.”

At the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) PRIDE awards earlier this month, last year’s CCG winter health campaign was awarded silver for Best Health Campaign. The CCG’s communications team are looking to build on last year’s award-winning work to deliver an even better campaign this winter that will have an even greater impact on reducing the numbers of people visiting A&E.