An award-winning website which helps people find the right NHS service when they are ill or injured has been used more than 100,000 times.
Health Help Now, launched in 2013, was developed by clinicians and health managers in Kent and Medway to help people find the best place for treatment for common symptoms. It shows which services are open and where they are. It can help people find out if they need to see a doctor, pharmacist or use a minor injuries service.
The website – www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net – is also available as a free download for smartphones so people will never be stuck about where to go when they need health help.
Health Help Now gives instant advice about symptoms any time, day or night. It also has the opening hours of all Kent and Medway pharmacies, complete with directions on how to get to your nearest pharmacy which is open.
Dr Chris Markwick, who oversaw the development of Health Help Now for Kent and Medway, said: “Getting 100,000 visits is an amazing achievement and illustrates just how useful Health Help Now is.
“My patients tell me it helps them find the information they need quickly, and they trust it because they know it was developed locally. One family said they would have gone to A&E if it hadn’t been for Health Help Now. Instead, they were able to get the advice and medicine they needed from a pharmacy.
“And the signs are that it’s having a positive impact. Medway Maritime Hospital experienced a drop in the number of minor attendances by around 10% from 2013-14 to 2014-15, while Darent Valley Hospital’s numbers fell by 28%. It’s really difficult to show a direct link, but we think it’s really positive.
“I would encourage everyone in Kent and Medway with a computer, smartphone or tablet to take a look and save it – you never know when you might need it.”
Health Help Now won Best Website in the Association for Healthcare Communications and Marketing (AHCM) Communicating Healthcare Awards 2014 and a silver award for the best use of digital in the Chartered Institute for Public Relations regional PRide awards.