Medway: Innovative new NHS service to help people know where to go for treatment

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By KMCSmedia | Tuesday, December 24, 2013, 11:41

The NHS has launched an innovative new service to help people in Medway and the rest of Kent to understand where they should go for treatment, especially when they need healthcare in a hurry or late at night or weekends.

The Health Help Now web app was launched on Friday 13 December with a Christmas carol singing flash mob in Chatham's Pentagon Centre shopping centre.

NHS staff joined the flash mob which was led by Herne Bay singer Martin (The Crooner) Farbrother and Year 7 children from St John Fisher Catholic School in Chatham.

The Health Help Now web app can be found online at www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net and is free to everyone who lives and works in Kent and Medway. It functions like a mobile phone app and helps people check their symptoms and find the best place for treatment – showing which services near them are open. It will help people to know when to go to A&E, and when not to.

It breaks down symptoms by age – baby, child, teenager, adult and older adult. This is to make it easier for people to find the right treatment for them.

It is thought to be the most detailed and sophisticated local NHS web-app in the country.

Health Help Now has been developed with input from local GPs, hospital doctors, paramedics and other health professionals.

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.

The ground-breaking, easy-to-use web app works on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

Dr Chris Markwick, Urgent Care GP Lead for NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "Health Help Now means our local community will be able to find the most appropriate help when they need it.

"We hope people will find this easy-to-use web app helps them to determine when to go to A&E and when to go elsewhere. Around 40 per cent of people who attend A&E leave without any treatment. We hope that by using this web app, patients will become more aware of other services better able to 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 the busy winter period."

The web app will initially be available via the website www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net and can be saved to your phone, tablet or computer for easy use. It will be launched as a free mobile phone app in 2014. Anyone who doesn't have internet access is advised to dial NHS 111 for urgent healthcare advice 24 hours a day. 

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