Help us help you get the treatment you need
The NHS has launched a major new drive to persuade the public to seek the urgent care and treatment they need.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens warned that delays in getting treatment due to coronavirus fears pose a long term risk to people’s health.
The plea comes alongside new findings that four in ten people are too concerned about being a burden on the NHS to seek help from their GP.
Seeking medical help is one of the four reasons that people can safely leave home, in line with government guidance.
And Sir Simon stressed that the NHS is still there for patients without coronavirus who need urgent and emergency services for stroke, heart attack, and other killer conditions.
While NHS staff have worked hard to put in place measures allowing people to access care safely – such as splitting services into Covid and non-Covid – attendances at Accident and Emergency departments are so far on course to be one million lower this April than last.
Some leading clinicians including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and medical health charities such as the British Heart Foundation and Stroke Association have expressed concerns that people are risking their long-term health, and their lives, by delaying getting the help they need.
A new public information campaign – including digital adverts, posters and social media featuring NHS staff – will be rolled out next week to persuade people to contact their GP or the 111 service if they have urgent care needs – or 999 in emergencies – and to attend hospital if they are told they should.
As well as encouraging people to seek help for urgent health needs, over the coming weeks the NHS will take steps to encourage people to use other vital services – such as cancer screening and care, maternity appointments and mental health support – as they usually would, by demonstrating how frontline teams are delivering them safely.