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GPs kick off Facebook campaign to cut A&E admissions

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4:57pm 21st June 2011

GPs from York are behind a new Facebook campaign to help cut the number of unnecessary A&E admissions.

The ‘Russ on the Bus’ campaign, which features GPs appearing on giant posters around York, is gathering pace. And the new Facebook site – www.facebook.com/russonthebus - wants to encourage more people to think again about going to A&E with minor concerns.

The GPs say people are wasting thousands of pounds of NHS money by going to A&E unnecessarily. They reckon that A&E departments across the region charge the local health service an average of £117 per patient treating people with minor injuries and illnesses who could have been dealt with by a GP.

York GP Dr Russell Saxby, one of the faces behind the campaign, said:

“We know from our pilot last year that a high number of people going to A&E unnecessarily are young people and many of these are students. So we thought the Facebook campaign would help spread the message to these people.”

The ‘see your GP’ campaign hopes to cut the number of people visiting A&E and lead to faster treatment for those with more serious conditions.

Chair of York Health Group Mark Hayes said:

“At a time when the NHS is under huge pressure to spend every pound wisely, we hope people will help us to be as efficient as possible by thinking carefully about how they access healthcare. Your GP has years of experience in dealing with everyday conditions. Please reserve the use of the Accident and Emergency Department for true Accidents and Emergencies.”

Dr Phil Kirby, Interim Director of Public Health for NHS North Yorkshire and York, added:

“This campaign compliments the wider ‘Choose Well’ message that we’ve been promoting for the last couple of years to try and raise awareness of the alternatives to A&E.

“We’re lucky in North Yorkshire and York as we have good access to a range of services - not only GP practices - but also community pharmacies and walk-in centres too. I hope this campaign makes people think twice before going to A&E with a minor symptom to free-up services for those with a real need.”

Mike Williams, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: #

“The Emergency Department is there primarily for people experiencing serious or life-threatening situations, and it can be put under additional pressure by people who could seek help or advice elsewhere. Better use of all the other available services will help us to dedicate more time to those patients who benefit most from our specialist skills.”

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