UNISON urges patients to ‘Choose Well’ in campaign launch at Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport

Porters, hospital chefs and laboratory staff will today (14th December 2016) launch UNISON Cymru Wales’ winter Choose Well awareness campaign. The Choose Well campaign aims to help people in Wales who are unwell to get the best level of support and assistance.

Many people, especially in winter, think that when they are unwell they need to book a GP appointment or take a trip to the local hospital. Too often this results in patients with non serious illnesses missing out on shorter or no queues for excellent medical advice.

UNISON is the largest NHS trade union in Wales and represents NHS staff and medics from the 999 call handler to NHS Direct Wales nurse advisors to paramedics to emergency department nurses and health care support staff. Darron Dupre, UNISON Cymru Wales Regional Organiser says that the union has a unique opportunity to support patients as well as its members working in emergency care.

“When we see ambulances stacked up outside hospitals or members of the public unable to get a GP appointment it is a huge stress both for patients and for the amazing staff who work in our NHS. Naturally patients want to access NHS services at a time that is convenient for them.

“Unfortunately, for those who decide to ‘trade up’ to a hospital emergency department when they are not seriously ill, this can mean very long waits for medical advice that could so often have been gained far quicker and faster elsewhere.

“So UNISON wants to use its size and leverage for good, to free up and support all NHS staff who provide life saving skills every day of the year and to help publicise all the options that a worried parent or a concerned patient might need to get seen as quickly as possible.

“And the message here is that there really are quicker and easier alternatives to A&E or 999 for many people feeling unwell to get good advice such as speaking to a nurse at NHS Direct Wales (0845 46 47) or visiting your local highly trained pharmacist, where no appointment is needed.

“Today (Wednesday) UNISON will be talking to the hundreds of patients and staff who use the Royal Gwent Hospital restaurant, letting them know about their choices and handing out flyers and posters for people to put on the back of their fridge or on their work notice board so that they can choose well and stay safe this Christmas”.