Cantabrians Urged To Think 1-2-3
A new campaign launched by the Canterbury District Health Board urges Cantabrians to think about the best place to go for health care, rather than simply head to the Emergency Department.
The brightly-coloured campaign asks “1-2-3, Where should I be?” alongside messages including “Save the Emergency Department for emergencies only.” CDHB General Manager of Planning and Funding Carolyn Gullery says “We want people to have the information to make the best choice about where to go. That way, we can collectively save hospital resources for the people who need them.
“General Practice is the first place people should think about going for their medical care, including urgent care. If your usual General Practice is not open, After Hours services provide GP care. They often include pharmacy and x-ray facilities. If you need urgent hospital care, the Emergency Department is the place to go. “ 24 Hour Surgery Clinical Director Dr Simon Wynn Thomas says he supports people making informed choices about health care and understands the confusion some people feel about where they should be.
“One simple suggestion is if you feel so acutely unwell that you think you should call an ambulance, you probably should go in it to the ED,” he says. “But if your situation is less urgent than that and you can’t get to your GP, then go to an After Hours service.
“For example, if you think you have broken your arm below the elbow or broken your ankle, going to an After Hours service with x-ray facilities would be appropriate, because fractures like this could usually be managed there. However, if you have chest pains or severe asthma, you should go to the ED.”
After Hours services vary for different parts of Canterbury. Talk to your GP about the closest facilities to you or what people in your area should do when their General Practice is not open. Clinical Director of the Emergency Department Angela Pitchford says some people think the ED is the easiest place to go, but the reality is it does not automatically ensure quick medical care. ”I think some people come to the ED because they think it means the fastest care, but we will always treat the sickest people first. We assess everyone and the most urgent always get care first.
“People with less urgent needs can make the department less efficient and might slow the flow of urgent care patients into the hospital. Some people with less urgent needs may also be referred to community care or to After Hours Services after ED treatment, so coming to the ED adds another step into their care.” The 1-2-3 campaign will unfold over the months leading into winter and includes a variety of messages on billboards, bus shelters, bus backs, cinema and in mall washrooms.