Suffolk’s NHS has issued a hard hitting cinema advert to make people think twice about clogging A&E departments with non-emergency cases.
The video, shown here, runs through a series of people who admit they should have sought help elsewhere then cuts to the face of a girl who asks ‘Did these people think they were more important than me?” before a shock ending.
The film, which was commissioned by the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, will run at Cineworld in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich from December 19 to January 2.
Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commisisoning Group, said: “This is a hard-hitting film, which clearly shows the possible consequences when a hospital emergency department is used by patients for the treatment of minor injury and illness.”
“This film is deliberately thought provoking and we hope that everyone who sees it will consider the other healthcare options available to them. We want people to remember that the emergency departments at Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals are there to treat emergencies only and not for the treatment of minor injury and illness.”
Dr Christopher Browning, a Long Melford GP and chairman of the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We have commissioned this advert to run during the busy winter period when there is extra pressure placed on the NHS and its staff.
“There are a number of options available to people including self-caring at home, calling NHS 111, visiting their local pharmacy or making an appointment with their GP surgery. Basically, only go to the emergency department in an emergency situation.”
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) is also calling on people to think twice before dialing at a time of year when its calls are rising.
The service, which covers six counties, takes calls on a variety of different illnesses and injuries, but it is stressing that 999 is specifically designed for people with serious and critical illnesses or those who need advanced medical treatment en route to hospital.
Rob Ashford, Acting Director of Service Delivery, for EEAST, said: “Our staff are working extremely hard to make sure that patients receive a speedy and safe response, throughout the winter period which is traditionally a busy time for our service. We take on average 2,300 emergency 999 calls every single day and this figure is already increasing and expected to continue to increase over the winter period when we see a rise in accidents and illnesses.
“Members of the public can help us during this time by ensuring that our services are available for those suffering from life-threatening conditions such as a heart attack or a stroke, and those most at risk such as the elderly.”
The doctors advise using these alternatives:
Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet – You can be prepared and ready for unexpected minor injury and illness. Just talk to your local pharmacist who’ll let you know what you need to stock up on.
Use your pharmacy – Pharmacies provide easy access, appointment free medical advice. Many pharmacies are open long hours, including evenings and weekends. They are a quick and convenient source of help, advice and over-the-counter medicines.
NHS 111 – If your GP surgery is closed you should call NHS 111. NHS 111 is open 24/7 and a trained advisor will help you. Calls are free from a landline or mobile.
GP surgery – If you have a long-term condition, such as a back ache, then book an appointment to see your family doctor. Don’t wait until your condition deteriorates.