02 Dec 2019

NHS St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group and its partners in St Helens Cares are this week launching a campaign to encourage the public to understand the importance of keeping A&E free for those who really need it and knowing what alternative NHS services are available in the community and when to use them.

The campaign is running alongside the national campaign from NHS England and also promotes the fact that the team at Whiston Hospital (STHK – St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust) have taken over the running of the St Helens Urgent Treatment Centre.


When people turn up at A&E and could have been better seen or treated elsewhere (such as the pharmacy, GP or Urgent Treatment Centre) as it’s not an emergency, this causes problems with flow through the hospital and means that staff in A&E are having to spend time seeing people when they should be focusing on the most poorly patients.


Thousands of pocket information guides have been produced and are being handed out across St Helens in schools, community and voluntary groups, GP practices, health centres and in public places as people come into the town centre to do their Christmas shopping.  These guides give information on what to do if people are unwell and need support, advice or treatment, and which are the most appropriate services for them to use.


Professor Sarah O’Brien, Clinical Accountable Officer at NHS St Helens CCG and Strategic Director People’s Services, said: “Around 46% of people who attend A&E can better be treated in a community setting such as at their GP practice where we have lots more appointments available at weekends and evenings; their local pharmacy or at the Urgent Treatment Centre which now has a doctor on site and is managed by the team who run the A&E at Whiston Hospital so patients will receive the same high quality care. 


“I’m urging everyone – especially over the Christmas and New Year period, to take some time to understand what alternatives are out there and choose the right service to meet your need.  If you are still unsure, the free NHS 111 number can give advice and even book you an appointment at the Urgent Treatment Centre.


This campaign is really important so let’s do it together in St Helens and keep A&E free for those who really need it.”


Fuller information is available on the St Helens Cares website www.sthelenscares.co.uk and below:


Stock up your medicine cabinet

You can treat most common illnesses at home if you have a range of medicines cheaply available at supermarkets such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, bandages.


Visit your pharmacist

Pharmacists can offer advice and medicines for a range of minor illnesses

Local pharmacy and opening times are our website www.sthelenscares.co.uk


Make a GP appointment

Your GP surgery has a range of staff as well as a GP that can see and treat you.  There are now more evening and weekend appointments with GPs and other health professionals available across St Helens.


Contact Cares

First point of contact for help and advice on health and social care needs, this service is open 8am – 10pm: 365 days a year. For more information visit www.sthelenscares.co.uk or call 01744 676767


NHS 111 – phone and website

Use the NHS 111 service available 24/7 if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation. You can also access 111 online at: www.111.nhs.uk If appropriate they can book you an appointment at the UTC.


Urgent Treatment Centre

Open 365 days a year for walk ins from 7am (9am on Sundays) until 10pm and is staffed by a team of highly skilled nurses and other healthcare professionals including a GP. 


A&E and 999

A&E and 999 are for life threatening illnesses and injuries only such as choking, chest pain, blood loss and open fractures. If you attend A&E or call 999 and your condition is not deemed to be life threatening you will be advised of other local services that are more suitable for you.