DR Julia Huddart, clinical lead for urgent care at NHS Eastern Cheshire
As the CCG’s urgent care lead, one of my tasks is to make sure emergency health services are working as efficiently as possible.
For that reason, I always support the CCG’s annual Choose Well campaign that gives people the information they need to opt for the right service at the right time so they get better quickly without creating unnecessary work for the A&E department or their GP practice.
We do most of our Choose Well advertising in the winter, when pressure on healthcare is at its greatest. And the campaign seems to be working as fewer than one in 10 people visiting A&E at Macclesfield Hospital last winter were sent away with advice and information only. I want to thank readers for using the NHS responsibly but I also want to remind everyone that choosing well is important all year round, including the summer when things like hay fever and sunburn can cause misery for sufferers and put strain on health services. Therefore, I’m urging people who suffer from hay fever to visit the NHS.
Choices website. It offers great advice on treating the symptoms with remedies such as antihistamines, nasal decongestants and eye drops – all of which are available from your community pharmacy. If your hay fever is more serious, your GP can recommend other treatments. Similarly, NHS Choices is the place to go for sound advice on preventing sunburn and treating it if it happens. You should use sunscreen when in the sun, keep your skin covered with clothing and wear a sun hat.
Moisturiser can help ease discomfort if you do get sunburnt. Again, effective remedies are available from your pharmacy. Every year, we measure the effectiveness of Choose Well by asking Cheshire East Council’s Citizens’ Panel about the previous winter’s campaign. We discovered that 40 per cent of members had seen last winter’s campaign – a big improvement on the previous year when only one in 10 had seen it.
Of those who saw the campaign, 84 per cent said it was clear and easy to understand while 63 per cent said they were now clearer on where to go for medical advice.
In addition, the survey told us that most people had seen the campaign in their GP surgery or local newspaper or in a hospital.