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A&E - Not the Place for Toothache!

Senior doctors and nurses across Manchester are concerned that cold and wintery conditions expected over the next few months could bring real health problems for local people living with illnesses such as heart disease, lung disease, cancer, asthma and other underlying health problems.  Their biggest concern is that city's GP surgeries and Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments could be inundated with people suffering from common illnesses like coughs and colds that usually clear up by themselves in a few days and don't need to be treated by a doctor.

Jonathan Smith, Matron for Emergency Services in Central Manchester said, "People should attend A&E with serious illnesses and injuries. People who have fallen from a height, people who are experiencing central chest pain. Patients should not attend if they have

something that could be seen by another service, if someone has a sore throat, they should see a pharmacist for advice. Toothache? This is not the place for toothache."

"Most common aches, pains and winter illnesses will clear up by themselves within a few days with a little rest and some over-the-counter treatments. If you need advice your high-street pharmacy is your expert and our Choose Well Manchester campaign includes really clear self-care advice."

Dr Martin Whiting, Chief Clinical Officer (Designate) for North Manchester said: "Every winter, we see more people with underlying health problems who need to be admitted to hospital. It's vital that our A&E departments are able to concentrate on the patients who are really unwell and aren't distracted by people with minor illnesses who should really look after themselves at home." 

"Our local Choose Well campaign gives patients lots of clear information on which conditions can safely be looked after at home, which symptoms need to be seen by NHS services in your area and what signs to look out for that mean it's time to call 999 and head to A&E. The information is available in 64 languages and includes downloadable leaflets as well as 17 short animations covering everything from sprains and strains, to what you should have in your medicine cabinet. "

The Choose Well Manchester website launches today at www.manchester.nhs.uk/choosewell and you can find the animations on our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ChooseWellManchester



  1. As a result of the current NHS reforms, NHS Manchester, the local Primary Care Trust, will cease to exist at the end of March 2013. To replace it, 3 GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (North Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group, Central Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group and South Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group) have been established and will be responsible for commissioning the majority of health services in the city, including hospital, community and mental health services 
  2. Other resources for this Choose Well will include DVDs and booklets for Health Visitors to give to new parents and business cards to direct patients to the new website.
  3. The Choose Well site will be linked from the main NHS Manchester website www.manchester.nhs.uk/
  4. Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are taking part in a national 'tweet-a-thon' as part of the Winter Choose Well Campaign. A member of the Communications team will tweet live from the MRI Emergency Department on the 13th of December from 9.00am-1.00pm. Follow the tweet-a-thon live at @CMFTNHS on the day.