Plastic men join East End GPs urging public not clog A&E with minor ailments

Pharmacist Nur Choudhury tells shoppers in Watney Market about campaign to avoid clogging up A&E

Pharmacist Nur Choudhury tells shoppers in Watney Market about campaign to avoid clogging up A&E - Credit: NHS TH Commissioning Grp

Plastic yellow men have been recruited to help a campaign to take pressure off hospital A&E departments in east London.

Pharmacist Nur Choudhury tells shoppers in Watney Market about campaign to avoid clogging up A&E

Pharmacist Nur Choudhury tells shoppers in Watney Market about campaign to avoid clogging up A&E - Credit: NHS TH Commissioning Grp

Mondays are one of the busiest times for A&E because of people who doctors say could go to the high street chemist instead.

Hospitals like the huge Royal London in Whitechapel are feeling the strain after the weekends having to deal with non-emergencies, with four-out-of-10 patients who do not need to be there, according to NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group.

So a campaign has been started to persuade people, especially men in their 20s and 30s, to go to pharmacists for common ailments like colds and flu.

It began at Shadwell’s Watney Street Market with seven-foot yellow plastic figures showing common ailments and injuies such as sprains, coughs and headaches with the message that “A&E is only for life-threatening emergencies”.


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Pharmacist Nur Choudhury, who was in Watney Market talking shoppers about alternatives to A&E, explained: “One-in-10 hospital visits last year could have been dealt with by a pharmacist.

“Hundreds of thousands of people sat in A&E for hours when a nearby chemist could have seen them in minutes and given them the advice and treatment they needed.”

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Many younger men aren’t even registered with a GP, the Commissioning Group revealed.

Dr Sam Everington, from St Andrew’s Clinic in Bromley-by-Bow who chairs the Commissioning Group, pointed out: “Choosing alternatives to A&E allows hospitals to concentrate on those in real need of emergency care.”

At the other end of the age scale, Dr Everington was urging the East End’s elderly last month to seek medical help “the earlier the better” if they’re ill to avoid a spell in hospital later, rather than “soldiering on”.

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