PARENTS are being targeted by a new health campaign aimed at driving down A&E visits.
The move by NHS Kirklees comes after figures showed under five’s accounted for 10% of all trips to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s A&E department.
On average 140 children arrive at the unit each week – that’s 14,000 a year.
But they could be better treated by alternative services with shorter waiting times, according to a Skelmanthorpe GP.
Dr Steve Ollerton, from Skelmanthorpe Family Doctors, is also chairman of the Greater Huddersfield clinical commissioning group.
He said: “The message we are trying to get across to parents and carers is that A&E isn’t always the place to take a sick child. Waiting times can be lengthy and there are much better alternatives available round the clock.
“We are fairly sure that most people don’t realise that there these alternatives and our campaign is aimed at changing that.
“Everyone needs to think of A&E as a last resort rather than the first place they turn when their child is ill or injured.”
The campaign – Choose Well for your Child – has been designed to equip parents and carers with the vital information they need when their child is unwell or injured.
Leaflets and free forehead thermometers have been handed out in Huddersfield town centre to promote the message.
Literature will also be distributed across GP surgeries, health centres, pharmacies, children’s centre and council buildings to highlight the other services.
The leaflet details children’s common symptoms and suggests the best places for people to get help or advice.
The services – other than A&E – include out-of-hours West Yorkshire Urgent Care, NHS Direct, pharmacies, GPs, walk-in centres and 999 as a last resort.
People will also be invited to take part in a questionnaire – before May 30 – about choosing well for children to be in with a chance of winning a Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit console.