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Choose Well Campaign Launched by Health Minister

7th November 2013

Choose WellHealth Minister Edwin Poots has urged people to think carefully about how they use the health service should they or their family become unwell or have an accident.

The Minister was speaking as he launched Choose Well, a public information campaign aimed at raising awareness of the range of health services available to treat everything from a common cold to a major emergency.

Speaking at the launch at the Grove Wellbeing Centre, Belfast, the Minister said; “The Choose Well campaign aims to help people gain a better understanding of the choices available and allow them to get access to the right services quickly, whether it is checking online, a trip to the pharmacy or an appointment with the GP. If people Choose Well they will get the right services for them and will help the health service to help them.

“We need the public to help emergency services to treat emergency cases. Because the number of genuine urgent and emergency cases rises during winter hospitals, GPs and community nursing teams all have their hands full.

“We know through research that people are using their GPs when self care or a trip to the pharmacy will do. For example, around 40% of 16-24 year olds have visited their GP in the event of a cold. Very often people do not need to see a GP; pharmacists can advise patients on minor ailments, pain relief, skin complaints, coughs and colds, over the counter or on the telephone.”

The Minister continued: “Choose Well is also about helping the staff in our emergency services concentrate on the people who are the most sick and injured. It’s about making it clear to the public that emergency and 999 services are for life threatening and serious conditions. Minor healthcare issues can be dealt with at home, by a pharmacist or by a GP.

“We have all read or heard about inappropriate use of the emergency services – the person who dialled 999 for an emergency ambulance because they wanted their prescription collected from their GP Practice or the person who attended ED because their false nails were hurting them. If you use the health service wisely, it means you can be seen and treated more quickly and by the most appropriate person.

“If you’re in doubt about which service is most appropriate for you, more information is available on”