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(L-R: Graham Humphrey, Dr David Abraham, Grainne
Bellenie, Martin Wilkinson, Rosemary Ramsay MBE
Anyone passing through Lewisham High Street last week will have noticed a family of seven-foot tall yellow figures with various ailments. The giant statues were part of an eye-catching NHS campaign to explain that people should only go to A&E when it is absolutely necessary.Winter is a very busy time for local Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments. The season puts severe pressure on hospitals with far too many people turning up for treatment for seasonal illnesses, rather than serious life threatening emergencies. National data shows around 40 per cent of people who attend A&E departments are discharged requiring no treatment and could have been treated elsewhere. The campaign aims to help people understand the other options for healthcare and to reduce waiting times at A&E departments. Dr Marc Rowland, Chair of Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group said: "We hope that this campaign grabs people's attention and helps them to understand that A&E is not always the answer. When people have a minor illness or injury, there are alternative places for them to go if they need to. "In Lewisham our poster campaign has focused on runny nose, diarrhoea, back ache, A&E won't kiss it better because people suffering with these conditions often visit A&E when they don't need to. In most cases a visit to your local pharmacist for advice and rest at home will get you better as quickly as anything else." Graham Humphery, Duty Station Manager at Deptford Ambulance Service, Rosemary Ramsay MBE, Chair of Healthwatch Lewisham and Salim Jetha from the Local Pharmaceutical Committee pictured above alongside Martin Wilkinson Chief Officer at NHS Lewisham CCG and Grainne Bellenie, Engagement Officer at NHS Lewisham CCG attended the launch to support the campaign.Over the coming weeks the yellow figures will be appearing in posters on buses and billboards across the borough. The campaign will be highlighting the alternative places people can get the expert advice and treatment they need locally, including: pharmacies (see photo), out of hours GP and walk in centres.