Hospital bosses are launching a hard-hitting campaign to prevent people turning up at Hull’s accident and emergency department with festive hangovers and winter bugs.
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust will unveil its “A&E: It’s serious stuff” campaign this week to ensure the department at Hull Royal Infirmary is reserved for life-threatening injuries and illnesses.
Bus advertising, billboards and posters will appear across Hull with slogans including “Give A&E a break. Not a sprain” and “A&E. That’s emergency care. Not emergency contraceptives” in the next week.
Posters will also appear in pub toilets with the message “Being drunk isn’t an accident. It’s not an emergency either” to target drinkers visiting A&E with hangovers or the effects of excessive alcohol consumption.
Trust chief executive Chris Long said: “It’s no secret that A&Es all over the country are under pressure all year round but that pressure ramps up even further over winter.
“We try to educate people on alternative services and highlight the pressure our department is under but still, we get people turning up at our A&E every day with sprains, colds and even hangovers.
“We need people to realise this has serious consequences. If our doctors and nurses are treating people who could have gone elsewhere, they’re not there for those who really need them.
“Put simply, coming to A&E with anything other than an emergency puts lives at risk.
“This year, we need people to heed our message. Our A&E is for the serious stuff. We need you to go somewhere else if it’s not an emergency.”
The trust is anticipating a surge in seasonal illnesses, falls and injuries over the next few weeks as winter begins to bite.
The campaign reminds people of alternative services including the GP walk-in centre at Wilberforce Health Centre in Hull city centre, the urgent care centre at Bransholme Health Centre and pharmacists and minor injuries units in the East Riding. Visit www.staywellthiswinter.co.uk for advice and information on services, including opening hours,
Trust data shows people most likely to attend A&E when they could be treated elsewhere include those who wrongly believe they need stitches or an x-ray, which can both be performed at the urgent care centre at Bransholme, and those who are normally healthy but are suffering from colds or flu.
The campaign will target people living in the seven Hull postcodes accounting for 60 per cent of all A&E attendances. It will also be aimed predominantly at those aged 18 to 50, responsible for more than two-thirds of attendances.
Parent packs will be handed out at schools listing common injuries and illnesses in children and the best place to receive treatment quickly.
“Pub packs” including beer mats and advice to staff will also be given out. And Sunday League teams will receive information packs on where players should be taken if they are injured on the pitch.
As well as the work to prevent people with minor illnesses and injuries turning up at Hull’s A&E in the first place, the campaign will continue in Hull Royal Infirmary with stickers and posters in the department stating “One in 10 people shouldn’t be here. Which one are you?”
The trust has produced the campaign with award-winning marketing firm Strawberry following the major success of the “Remarkable People, Extraordinary Place” recruitment campaign.