Tag Archives: A&E

Pharmacy campaign aims to ease pressure on NHS services this winter

The NHS is facing winter pressures as millions visit their GP or A&E as first port of call for winter sniffles. 

A new campaign ‘Treat Yourself Better with Pharmacist Advice’ aims to ease pressure on NHS services and reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

  • Unnecessary GP and A&E visits for winter ailments could cost the NHS over £343 million
  • Nearly half who visit the GP for common winter ailments do so because they want antibiotics
  • Younger generation are the biggest culprits for wasting GP time
  • Only one in five make use of their local pharmacy despite long GP waiting times

New research reveals an alarming 6 million UK adults would visit their GP and over 2 million would visitTreat Yourself Better poster A&E as a first port of call for common winter ailments such as colds and flu. With each GP consultation costing the NHS £43 and an A&E walk-in-service costing £41, this could equate to a staggering cost of over £343 million, which could be better spent on people who need medical attention.

The research, carried out to support the Treat Yourself Better with Pharmacist Advice campaign, finds that one of the most common reasons people (44%) visit the GP when suffering with a winter ailment is because they want or think they need antibiotics.  However, antibiotics don’t have any impact on common winter ailments which are caused by viruses as they only work against bacteria.

Only one in five (21%) adults make use of their local pharmacy for winter ailments. This week sees the launch of a new winter health campaign Treat Yourself Better with Pharmacist Advice, backed by the Department of Health (DH) and Public Health England (PHE), which encourages people to treat winter ailments themselves and to seek advice from their pharmacist before going directly to their GP.

The Treat Yourself Better with Pharmacist Advice campaign hopes people will think twice before making a GP appointment.

For further information on self-treating winter ailments, how long you can expect symptoms to last and warning signs to look out for, visit the Treat Yourself Better website.

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Making the NHS Better

The national health headlines caught my eye today: the massive pressures on A&E departments and fears that this pressure leads to errors and possibly unnecessary deaths (here’s the BBC coverage).

Basically the story says there is much to put right in the NHS so that A&E becomes the last resort for patients, not the first place they think of when they need urgent care. A&E was intended to offer  life-saving, emergency care but changes in the NHS and lack of confidence in out of hours provision has led to more and more people attending A&E because it’s the only place they feel is available – or trust.

Local GPs have seen this crisis looming and it’s why we have come together in clinical commissioning groups to begin the changes in the NHS which should ease this pressure. As we know from the Meeting the Challenge consultation, more A&Es is not the answer, there aren’t enough specialist staff for the A&Es that already exist, nor the cash to pay them or provide the highly expensive equipment they need to work effectively.

So what’s to be done? Well, North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning group believes that preventing unnecessary hospital admissions is the key. If we can make health and social care services more convenient, seamless and effective then we can give better support to help people manage their long term conditions and stay as well as they can be. We can also do more to support the elderly and vulnerable to keep them as well as possible.

We can help to achieve this by working closely with the other organisations providing health a social care services such as Kirklees Council and Locala to bring down barriers between services and we can also do this by redesigning care pathways (how services are delivered) and redefining how and when patients get onto or follow that pathway.

It’s a complex jigsaw and can’t be done overnight, but with determination and goodwill on all sides (which is clearly evident) I believe we can quickly start to make a difference and make the ailing NHS better.

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Filed under Chair's blog: Dr David Kelly