Ipswich: Better self care could reduce pressure on busy A&E say GPs

Dr Mark Shenton, chairman of Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group

Dr Mark Shenton, chairman of Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group - Credit: PAGEPIX LTD

A HEALTH forum for patients will highlight the importance of self care as new figures reveal more than 5,000 patients visited Ipswich Hospital’s emergency department last year but needed no treatment.

Dr Mark Shenton, chairman of Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (IESCCG) said a “golden thread” running through their key priorities is self care and helping people prevent themselves from needing to use health services.

He said the topic was brought up at the IESCCG’s first patient event prompting the question ‘what can people do for themselves’?

It comes as figures from the CCG show admissions at Ipswich Hospital’s A&E have spiralled from 53,000 in 2010/11 to 63,000 last year.

Dr Shenton said 37% of those admitted to the emergency department last year were discharged without needing any follow-up care, while 5,000 did not need any treatment or investigations at all.

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It has prompted the CCG to look at the issue of where patient’s receive treatment with a focus on encouraging people to think about where best they will receive health care, be it at their GP surgery, a local pharmacy, from the NHS 111 helpline or at A&E.

Dr Shenton said: “Clearly we don’t have the answers at the moment. But we want the public to share their views with us.

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“I think self care will become even more important. It is something we should all be doing throughout our life. The NHS for example offers preventative immunisation programmes, which don’t always get taken up. And we have seen the potential problems in Wales where there a low MMR uptake has led to a measles outbreak.

“Cancer screening programmes are also available for cervical, breast and bowel cancers. Cancer is the leading cause of premature death in Suffolk, ahead of heart disease, hence the importance of these programmes. Our question to patients is what can we do to help you take up these offers?”

He added: “We are not trying to wag our fingers at the public and say you could do more, we are asking how we can help patients.”

To book a place on the self care forum at Trinity Park on May 21 from 2pm to 5pm visit www.ipswichandeastsuffolkccg.nhs.uk or call 01473 770021.

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