Northampton General Hospital and Kettering General Hospital, are asking people to think about which NHS service they can use next time they feel unwell with a new countywide communications campaign.
The new campaign, called Next Time, launched in December to promote the wide range of services available to give medical advice. The billboard adverts, bus rears and digital signage feature real-life examples of people who come to A&E with colds and hangovers that could have been treated elsewhere and also highlights the importance of seeking help sooner.
The aim is to encourage people to seek medical help sooner when they feel unwell and make sure they choose the most appropriate service the next time they have an illness or injury.
Sally-Anne Watts, associate director of communications at NGH, described the idea behind the campaign “We’ve developed the campaign with input from colleagues in our emergency department and also at Kettering General Hospital. We want to encourage local people to help us use our resources wisely and, at the same time, prevent illnesses and minor injuries getting to the stage that they require hospital treatment.
“We don’t want people to wait in the hope that they will get better. When people don’t need urgent care, but are concerned about how they feel, we want them to check their symptoms using the NHS app, the NHS website, speak with their local pharmacist for advice or book an appointment with their GP and, if it’s more urgent, by using the NHS 111 service.
“There are hundreds of medically trained professionals here to help in Northamptonshire. By choosing the best service people can help themselves to recover sooner, avoid a wait in our emergency department if they are assessed to be non-urgent, or even avoid an admission to hospital”.
As well as the public campaign, health services in the county have written to local employers to ask them to encourage and support employees to seek medical advice when they feel unwell and allow them the time they need if they have to collect loved ones when they are ready to return home.
Using data from A&E attendances and information from staff, the communications team are targeting areas of the town with the highest A&E attendances and specific audiences who use the services at certain times of the day.
The Next Time campaign can be seen in Northampton and Kettering until March on billboards, buses, bus shelters, digital screens in pubs and restaurants, in local magazines and on social media. If anyone would like to display posters in their workplace or in any local publications please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.