Together with its health partners, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has developed a series of posters to help local people make the right choice when seeking medical advice in a number of situations including when someone has been ‘bitten by a bug’, developed a case of ‘barbecue belly’ or just spent ‘too much time in the sun’.
CCG Chair, Dr Mike Innes, said: "We know that the good weather brings people out to many of Telford and Shropshire's beauty spots and best attractions such as 'T Live'.
“So this is a prime opportunity to make everyone aware of the alternatives available across the NHS and help to reduce the increasing pressures on A&E and the rest of the healthcare system."
“No one wants to waste away a lovely summer’s day sitting in A&E waiting to be seen,” he said. “And the truth is, there are often more effective and efficient routes to treatment that people don’t realise are available to them.”
Martin Brady, 30, from Wellington, in Telford, plays football every week and is a keen mountain biker.
"I'm quite active and I have a recurring ankle injury,” he said. “If I do get injured I make sure that I know how to look after it, but if it needed looking at out of hours, I would contact my out of hours GP - otherwise known as ShropDoc.
“I know many people think going to A&E is the best port of call but it's not.
“For one, it's a busy place and you could be waiting for many hours and also, it's not somewhere anyone should really go unless their condition is life threatening."
CCG Chief Officer David Evans said: “It’s so important people are given all the information they need to manage their own health where they can, and retain their independence wherever possible.
“And with a range of alternatives open to the public that includes GPs, out-of-hours services, pharmacies and the range of advice and treatments they can offer and even minor injuries units, most people can find the care they need with minimal inconvenience to themselves or their family and friends and get back on with enjoying the sunshine.”
The campaign contains a number of suggestions for people looking for medical advice including:
- Hurt your ankle while out walking? … visit your GP or out of hours GP who can suggest the best treatment.
- Too much time in the sun? … your pharmacy can give advice about what to do. Drink plenty of water and use suncream when out in the sun.
- Barbecue belly? … if you think it may be food poisoning drink plenty of fluids and your symptoms should clear within 48 hours. If symptoms persist after this, or if you are unsure, please seek advice from your pharmacy or GP.
- Been bitten by a bug? … advice from your pharmacist will take the sting out of it.
- Fallen off your bike? … your local GP or out of hours GP can help you get back in the saddle.
- Coming down with a bump? … contact your GP or NHS 111.
The CCG together with its partners across the health economy, has targeted prime summer locations regularly visited by local people over the summer break including the Wrekin, Haughmond Hill, Cardingmill Valley, Ludlow, Oswestry, Stiperstones, Newport and Bridgnorth, as well as contacting local walking and cycling clubs to enlist their support in promoting the campaign.
Mr Evans added: “Whatever someone’s condition is, it’s vital that they know what their options are and have the opportunity to use the most appropriate service available to ensure their medical needs are addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
The CCG is urging local people to help support the campaign by snapping a 'Telfie' in front of any of the posters they see out and about and tweeting them to share the message using the hashtag #safesummer.
Local health partners including West Midlands Ambulance Service, Shropshire Community Trust, The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, NHS England have all helped to shape the campaign and the messages behind it.
The campaign is also supported by Shropshire Tourism, which provides details of accomodation, attractions, events and activities across the whole county, and will feature the campaign on its website.