Health bosses have come up with a new remedy to alleviate the strain on busy A&E departments – as December figures show less than 10 per cent of children taken to a nearby A&E actually needed hospital treatment.

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More than 2,355 people attended the A&E department at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow during the first week of December.

Around a quarter of these were children, with only a small number – approximately seven per cent – needing admission to hospital.

In an attempt alleviate the mounting pressure placed on A&E doctors, every home in Uttlesford will receive a copy of a new map which shows the types of services residents can access directly.

All primary schools in the area, as well as GP surgeries, libraries, and district and parish councils will also stock the map – available to download at westessexccg.nhs.uk.

It was created by NHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (WECCG), the new group of GPs and NHS managers that plans and buys healthcare services for local people.

There is information about all the different NHS services available in the local area, as well as details of out-of-hours cover.

The CCGs message is: ‘There is more to your NHS than just 
A&E... and the benefit is more direct access to the right help 
at a range of different places, as well as reducing pressure on our local A&E.’

WECCG chairman, Dr Rob Gerlis, said: “We have a wide range of services available, and need to keep A&E for real 
emergencies, especially over the winter period.

“Your first point of contact for every day illness should be your GP. And for more minor ailments, like coughs and colds, pain relief and stomach problems, don’t forget that your local pharmacy can give you advice on treatments and the best medication to take.

“Our map is part of a campaign to give you more information on all these services so please make sure you keep the information in a handy place.”

As part of the campaign, WECCG is running a competition where residents can win a £75 voucher from their local supermarket, as well as a drawing competition for young children.

To find out more, visit westessexccg.nhs.uk.

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