App could ease pressure on Sussex A&E departments

JPMT. NHS Health meeting at the Hurstpierpoint Village Centre. Dr Minesh Patel ENGPPP00320121109155345
JPMT. NHS Health meeting at the Hurstpierpoint Village Centre. Dr Minesh Patel ENGPPP00320121109155345

An app designed to help people find the best ways to access health services has been nominated for a national award.

Health Help Now gives residents in Horsham and Mid Sussex information about finding the right place for treatment and advice.

It is important to remember that A&E is for serious emergencies only – hospitals are very busy places all year round.

Michael Wilson

A spokesman for NHS Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group said: “It is estimated that nationally one in five visits to A&E are for minor conditions, such as coughs, colds, muscular pain or allergies, which could be managed safely and effectively at home or with advice from a pharmacist.

“In Horsham and Mid Sussex this equates to about 60 of the 300 people a day who attend A&E at East Surrey Hospital.”

Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for buying health services locally, want to highlight alternative choices available should people need treatment because they are unwell or injured.

Dr Minesh Patel, clinical leader and chair of Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Health Help Now is a great way to help people find the right service for their health needs.

“There are lots of places to get treatment for people in Horsham and Mid Sussex and we want to make it easy for people to find the right care first time.”

The app lists common symptoms and offers suggestions for treatment, with the one which works best for most people listed first.

Health Help Now then links through to local services, and shows whether they are open or closed, their location and directions.

Michael Wilson, chief executive at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust which runs East Surrey Hospital, said: “It’s important to remember that A&E is for serious emergencies only – hospitals are very busy places all year round, including summer, with A&E staff dealing with life threatening emergencies, like strokes and heart attacks.

“If you become ill over the summer it is important to think about which local health service is right for you, rather than just going straight to A&E. This helps us to ensure everyone gets the care they need.”

The App is now available at www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net.

The e-health award winners will be held in central London on October 1, 2015.

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