TV prankster Dom Joly is supporting an NHS campaign in a bid to raise awareness of the 24-hour NHS 111 helpline.
Best known for his phone-carrying character from Trigger Happy TV, Dom has join the not quite an emergency campaign film for the NHS, using his trademark undercover film crew.
Shot in Crawley, Horsham, and Brighton, the film shows a heavily-disguised Dom blighted by various minor ailments that he refuses to accept aren’t worthy of being considered a medical emergency.
Hidden cameras capture him seeking support from unsuspecting members of the public, before pretend paramedics arrive on the scene and NHS staff dressed as giant blue ones appear walking about in the background.
Dom Joly said: “We used real-life examples of non-emergency conditions people have gone to A&E or called 999 for – a toothache, a blister, an insect bite and even a hangover.
“While it was obvious the people I spoke to didn’t think my plight was a 999 emergency, hardly anyone suggested calling 111 instead.
“One chap even suggested calling 999 to find out the right number to call – he knew a non-emergency NHS number existed but couldn’t remember what it was.”
Patient research conducted earlier this year by NHS Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – one of the CCGs in Sussex launching Dom’s film today on YouTube – has also revealed high levels of unawareness about 111 among patients waiting in A&E departments.
Dr Minesh Patel, clinical chairman of Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG, said: “Patients waiting in local A&E departments with minor conditions often don’t want to be in hospital - but they didn’t know where else to go. NHS 111 can help refer people on to alternative services like walk-in clinics, pharmacies and out-of-hours GP services. Many people think NHS111 is just an advice line when in fact can refer patients on for urgent prescriptions at their local pharmacy, telephone and face-to-face consultations with a GP, and even a home visit by a doctor or nurse.
“We know that one in three visits to local A&E are for conditions that could be dealt with outside of hospital. With Dom Joly’s help, this campaign has been designed to reach out to local people this winter – especially those aged under 35 who we know have the lowest awareness of NHS 111 – and encourage them to call 111 when they need urgent medical help but it’s not a 999 emergency.”
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