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Public urged to choose well to help save lives by Chief Medical Officer

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales (CMO), Dr Frank Atherton is urging the public to help their NHS and people with life-threatening conditions by choosing the right health service for their needs.

During the busy winter period concerns remain that people are still opting to call 999 or visiting Emergency Departments for minor ailments when it would be more appropriate for them to access care elsewhere.

The Welsh Government’s Choose Well campaign encourages people to think and pick the right health service for their illness or injury. This includes using the local pharmacist if they are worried about common health problems such as diarrhoea, colds, upset stomachs or headaches.

Andrew Evans, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer said: “I would encourage everyone who is unsure about how best to treat their health condition to ask their local pharmacist for advice.

“They are experts in medicines and their use and are able to give advice on a range of conditions without the need for an appointment. They will also advise you to go and see your GP or other healthcare professional if they feel it is necessary.”

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton said: “Choosing well ensures people get the treatment they need in the shortest possible time and reduces pressure on essential NHS services.

“A&E is for those with serious illness or injury such as choking, chest pain, blacking out, blood loss which can’t be stopped or suspected stroke.

“I would encourage everyone to take a look at our Choose Well website and app which explain what each NHS service can offer.  In many cases, people go to emergency units when they could have received the same advice from a local pharmacist or been seen and assessed in a minor injuries unit, GP surgery out of hours doctor.

“The message is clear. Choose well to help save lives.”