Time wasters cost NHS £1million

PUBLISHED: 14:00 09 December 2010

Archant

ONE in four patient visits to Weston General Hospital’s 
accident and emergency department is unnecessary, according to health bosses.

NHS North Somerset, which oversees local health services, is launching a ‘choose well’ appeal in a bid to reduce accident and emergency attendances.

The body claims unnecessary visits are costing the health service more than £1million a year.

It goes on to say the money could be used to pay for one consultant, two GPS, 10 community matrons and 10 nurses.

In response, the trust is raising awareness about the range of services GPs offer in the hope people select the appropriate option when they fall ill.

The call comes at the start of the winter period when demand for NHS services is greatest.

NHS North Somerset director of public health, Becky Pollard, said: “There are many different services available if people fall ill during the winter months.

“The NHS always faces more pressure at this time of year and helping people choose the right service will make sure they receive the best treatment, allowing emergency services to concentrate on those most in need.

“We want to ensure that people living in North Somerset receive the right care in the right place at the right time.”

Among the services which treat and advice people for common winter illnesses are NHS Direct and pharmacists.

In Weston, the NHS has a GP-led healthcare centre at Weston General Hospital which offers a full range of doctor’s services.

Appointments are not necessary and the centre cares for district residents and holiday visitors alike.

Mrs Pollard added: “Many people are unaware, for example, that the services provided by NHS Direct and local pharmacists can provide excellent advice on common winter illnesses.

“It is important for people to use the most appropriate service at the right time, for example it is not appropriate to use the accident and emergency department for the sorts of minor illnesses that we all suffer from time to time.”

To contact NHS Direct, call 0845 4647 or log on to www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk

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