An award-winning website and app that points patients to pharmacy aims to reduce A&E queues.
Health Help Now aids patients in Merton to find the right healthcare provider at any time of day or night.
By directing people to the most appropriate service, and even providing information on which pharmacies are open out of hours, the new service aims to help avoid an unnecessary trip to A&E.
The app was developed with input from Merton’s Patient Reference Group, as well as local GPs, hospital doctors, paramedics and other health professionals.
The project, now launched by Merton CCG, has won three awards.
Dr Doug Hing, urgent care clinical director at the CCG, said: “Health Help Now means our local community will be able to find the most appropriate help fast when they need it.
“We hope people will find that this easy-to-use app helps them to determine when to go to A&E and when to go elsewhere.
“Around 40% of people who attend A&E leave without any treatment.”
He hopes patients using the app will become more aware of the range pf services on offer to best meet their needs.
“This may save them a long wait in A&E and should help to take the pressure off A&E, especially over busy holiday times,” Dr Hing added.
The app breaks down symptoms by age to make it easier for people to find the right treatment for them.
After clicking on age, symptoms and location, people are presented with a list of suggestions for treatment.
The most suitable choice for most people is listed first and the other suggestions follow in order.
It shows the nearest services and is time sensitive so details whether services are open or closed and provides a map of their location.
Health Help Now also offers advice – such as where to buy children’s medication when pharmacies are closed – and links to other useful websites.