By Natasha David-Hilton
Hospital patients are being asked by NHS Bury to care about the cost of their treatment, yesterday.
Accident and Emergency visits that are not needed are costing Bury over £1 million every year.
The campaign, called ‘Care about the cost,’ is urging patients to carefully choose which service best meets their needs.
John Boyington CBE, Chief Executive for NHS Bury said: “We want to make the most of every pound we are given whilst driving up the quality of health services.
“Local people have a really key role to play in this process, by using the right services and being more aware of what services cost, they can not only get the best and most appropriate care but they can also help to ensure the resources we have are spent in the most efficient and effective way.”
It is hoped that the campaign will reduce the strain put on A&E units and the NHS over the winter period.
If a patient visits A&E and their condition is minor and could have been treated elsewhere, NHS Bury still gets charged. We have a duty to pay the lowest cost we can for appropriate care.”
“We want to generate maximum awareness in advance of the traditionally busy winter period and really want to engage with local patients about how they can help us make the best use of the local NHS.”
Teams at A&E units deal daily complaints that could usually be dealt with at a chemist or through another service such as cases of coughs, colds, backache, small insect bites and upset stomachs.
Latest figures suggest that about a third of visitors to A&E at Fairfield General Hospital could have been treated faster and more appropriately through another NHS service.
The campaign hopes that by patients choosing the correct service they can expect to be seen and treated quicker, whilst keep emergency services free for life threatening illnesses.
Dr. Jerry Martin, Chair of NHS Bury’s Commissioning Board and local GP added: “In addition to patients own GPs, pharmacies and NHS Direct, we have a new service at Moorgate Primary Care Centre known as Bury Urgent Treatment Centre.
“If you need treating today, and your condition isn’t an emergency, go here, this is a doctor led service. You can be seen, without an appointment every day from 8am until 10pm.
“Think urgent, think Moorgate.”
Care about cost also aims to highlight other issues such as the cost of wasted medicines, keeping appointments that have been booked or cancelling them in advance if they are no longer required.
For more information about alternative services visit www.bury.nhs.uk or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.