20 January 2014
Seek treatment early, NHS advises.
"The Earlier, The Better" say top doctors as NHS England
launches first public awareness campaign.
NHS England has launched its first national public-awareness
campaign in a bid to persuade people not to store up health
problems and to seek advice early.
The campaign - called The Earlier, The Better - aims to help nip
health problems in the bud and reduce unnecessary stays in
Since last November NHS England's most senior clinicians have
been encouraging people to seek help early over the winter period.
biggest concern has been the rising number of older and frail
people who are admitted to hospital because of respiratory or other
chronic conditions usually worsened by immobility, the cold and
They say the answer lies in better self and family care, early
recognition of illness and urgent access to medication, primary and
Many people are not aware that they can get advice on minor
ailments from their local community pharmacy service. Expert help
can be provided to people for them to manage their long-term
conditions or for ailments such as a bad cough, wheezing, a cold or
sore throat. Many pharmacies have longer opening hours than the
average GP practice, and most have a private consultation area. If
people need to see a doctor, they will be advised accordingly.
Professor Keith Willett, NHS England's Director for Acute Care,
"As a clinician who has spent some 30 years working in the urgent
care system I am really pleased to see a serious attempt to reach
out to the public on this issue.
"We see in our hospitals so many people who have not had or
sought the help they need early enough. We have to do better
at helping people stay well, not just picking up the pieces when
they fall seriously ill.
"Too many people make the mistake of soldiering on, losing the
opportunity to nip things in the bud. Unfortunately this can
lead to an unnecessary stay in hospital, particularly for the more
frail elderly and those with long-term conditions.
"So if you feel under the weather, why not pop into the local
pharmacy, visit www.nhs.uk asap or
call NHS 111 for advice on what to do. If the symptoms do not go
away, then go and see your GP. Of course if it's an emergency then
go to A&E.
Clare Howard, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHS
England, said: "Pharmacists and their teams are well trained and
well placed to be able to offer advice to people seeking help. They
can provide medicines' advice and support for minor ailments,
advise you about how to manage a long term condition and tell you
if something needs more urgent medical attention from your GP, or
even your local hospital.
"Many members of the public already use their Pharmacist in
these ways. More people could seek help from their Pharmacist when
they first have a problem rather than waiting until it becomes more
serious, or having to go to hospital when the problem could have
been managed earlier."