Patients are urged to ‘Choose Well’ for treatment this winter

CLINICIANS are encouraging Whitby people to choose the most appropriate place to get treatment or advice for health issues this winter.

NHS estimates suggest that up to 30 per cent of patients accessing emergency health services could have sought treatment and advice from an alternative source, such as their pharmacist, NHS Direct or their GP.

Dr Phil Kirby, interim director of public health for NHS North Yorkshire and York, said: “As the colder weather of winter approaches, the pressures begin to build on our hospital services.

“The Choose Well campaign aims to support local residents in choosing the most appropriate NHS service for their health need.

“If you are unsure about what service to access, NHS Direct provides free advice on symptoms, treatment and local health services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Almost two out of every five patients that visit A&E only receive medical advice or guidance, while around 450,000 people leave A&E departments each year without being seen.

Ed Smith, emergency department consultant at Scarborough General Hospital, said: “We do not want to stop people going to A&E or calling 999 when they have a genuine emergency.

“However several studies show that a fair proportion of people who show up at A&E could have sought advice and treatment from other health services.”

For more information about Choose Well in Scarborough and Whitby, visit www.northyorkshireandyork.nhs.uk