A Biggleswade GP is leading a campaign to encourage the parents and carers of children under five to use A&E for emergencies only this winter.
In a new campaign called ‘Is A&E for my mini me?’, which showcases photographs of people from the area with their children, clinicians have provided information and advice to help people make the right choice when their child requires medical attention.
The campaign comes as hospitals in the area start to gear up for the winter period, which last year saw patients across the country waiting for more than four hours in hospital waiting rooms to be seen by a Doctor.
Dr Alvin Low, a GP from Biggleswade and Clinical Chair of Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “One of the most worrying times for a parent or carer is when their little one is ill and their GP practice is closed. It is understandable that they may want to take their child to their local hospital’s A&E department. However there are currently long waits to be seen and it is not always the best environment for a poorly child.
“I would always recommend trying NHS111 first; we have worked hard with providers of NHS111 and Out Of Hours care who have highly skilled call handlers and a range of clinicians who can provide help and advice”.
Dr Chirag Bakhai, Clinical Director for Planned Care at Luton Clinical Commissioning Group added: “Most children can be safely seen at their local GP practice or by the out of hours service, accessed through NHS111. As the winter and flu season approaches, we would advise our population to ensure that the whole family is registered with a local GP practice so they can easily access medical advice when they need it most.”
“The ‘Mini Me’ campaign is a fun way for us to engage with parents and carers in our area, so that we can signpost people to the best care for them, reduce pressure on our emergency departments and provide advice on how to manage seasonal childhood illnesses at home.”
The ‘Is A&E for my mini me’ campaign is running on social media and in schools and children’s centres across the area. Local people are asked to share their photographs of themselves with their ‘mini me’s’, so that we can help people make the best choices this winter.
To register for a GP near you visit NHS Choices: www.nhs.uk. If you require medical advice, or to access a GP out of hours, dial NHS111.
For more information on the ‘Is A&E for my mini me’ campaign visit:
Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group at www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk
Luton Clinical Commissioning Group at www.lutonccg.nhs.uk