A DRIVE to encourage people with minor illnesses to 'self care’ has been launched by the NHS.
Since 2010, attendance at hospital emergency departments across Hampshire has risen by 16.5 per cent, and it is estimated minor ailments and illnesses that do not require treatment account for 18 per cent of GP workloads.
Health bosses have now launched a survey to determine why people visit their GP or A&E for common complaints, such as colds, aches and pains, stomach upsets and sore throats, and to discourage them from doing so.
Sarah Elliott, director of nursing at the Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth NHS cluster, said: "It is estimated last year two million people who didn’t need to, went to an A&E or emergency department. That’s the equivalent cost of 6,500 nurses.
"In addition, we know 51.4 million GP appointments a year are for minor ailments alone.
"If we can encourage more people to self-care for common complaints, we can re-focus resources on people who really need them.
"With the number of people with complex or long-term health conditions growing, we need to take steps so we can focus more resources on these potentially vulnerable groups of people.
"We are not saying people should not go to see their GP or use their A&E, emergency and 999 services if they believe they are seriously ill. We need to understand how we can encourage them to help themselves for common problems."