Effectiveness of Choose Well health campaign questioned

2:01pm Saturday 11th January 2014

QUESTIONS were asked about the effectiveness of Hywel Dda’s Choose Well campaign which aims to avoid unnecessary visits to accident and emergency at last week’s meeting of the local Community Health Council (CHC).

The Choose Well campaign is a Welsh Government initiative and it is designed to help people where best to get medical attention using a colour coded thermometer guide which encourages people to think about the severity of their symptoms before seeking help.

Households across Pembrokeshire received Choose Well information following its launch in October 2013 and there is also an app available for Smartphones as well as information online.

It reminds people that care is also available at community pharmacies, GP surgeries or out of hours services, community support and advice from NHS Direct Wales.

The CHC asked the health board if it has any evidence that the scheme was having an impact in Pembrokeshire.

A formal evaluation is due to take place in March but figures for A&E attendance at Withybush for October, November and December were provided by the Health Board.

In October 2012 3,180 attended A&E while last October 3,149 attended. In November 2012 2,668 people went to A&E and in 2013 2,958 and in December 2012 there were 2,747 patients and in 2013 3,043.

The number of return visits did decrease significantly over the same time period, from a total of 141 in 2012 to 63 last year.

Pembrokeshire county director Sue Lewis said: “A lot of things that come through the door of A&E are inappropriate and these people could get services elsewhere. We need to promote alternatives. Not doing anything wasn’t an option.”

Access to GPs would continue to be monitored and Welsh Government contract changes announced last week should also improve access the meeting was told.

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