Choose the right care this Winter

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Tuesday, January 6th, 2015
Nearly 10,000 people a week fail to turn up for either an appointment with their GP or nurse across Northern Ireland, it has been revealed. The figures, based on a survey carried out in GP practices last year, showed that over 5,000 people failed to turn up for a GP appointment and around 4,500 failed to turn up for an appointment with a nurse. The statistics were released by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) at the launch of the ‘Choose Well’ campaign which urges people to think carefully this winter about how they use health and social care services should they or their family become unwell or have an accident. The ‘Choose Well’ campaign aims to help people gain a better understanding of the range of services available, from self-care at one end right up to 999 and Emergency Departments at the other. It encourages the public to choose the most appropriate option, so they can get better, quicker. Dr Ian Clements, Chair of the HSCB and former GP, encouraged the public to “Think Where and Choose Well”. “Choose Well is about informing and empowering people to make the right decisions about which health and social care services to use. “We have included information on mental health as part of the Choose Well campaign this year, as we felt it was really important that people are aware of the full range of physical and mental health services and how best to use them. “We are very grateful to the Mental Health Rights campaign groups and Participation and Practice of Rights for all of their feedback and support in ensuring the information was tailored to the needs of those experiencing mental health difficulties or their families,” he said. Launching the campaign Health Minister Jim Wells said, “Choose Well is about enabling staff in our emergency services to focus on the people who are the most sick and injured this winter. “It’s about making it clear to the public that emergency and 999 services are for life threatening and serious conditions. Many minor healthcare issues can be dealt with at home or by seeking the advice of a pharmacist. “Before you dial 999 or go to your local Emergency Department, think about your options. I don’t want to discourage those with a genuine medical emergency from calling 999, but simply ask that they ‘Choose Well’ and consider the range of other more appropriate services available,” he added. For more information on the range of services available see or follow us on twitter –
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