THERE is a drive across the NHS to tackle unnecessary A&E admissions and what better way to do that than by enlisting the help of giant yellow men. Confused? So were shoppers in Croydon town centre today after being greeted between trips to Primark and TopShop by huge statues sitting on a toilet, blowing their nose or bleeding from the leg. The eye-catching campaign is the idea of Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Dr Agnelo Fernandes, assistant clinical chairman, said: "This is an unusual campaign, but there's a very serious message: Don't just go to A&E, you can get quicker treatment closer to home." How effective they will be in getting the message across is arguable, but the statues certainly caused a stir in North End today (Wednesday). The giant yellow man sitting on a toilet grabbed most of the attention. Harriet Blackshaw, one of the health awareness team members, sat on his knee, while two baffled older shoppers just stared at him. One statue appears to have suffered only a grazed knee though the mannequin bleeding from what looks like a serious leg wound may have sent the wrong signals. The campaign highlights alternative places people can get expert advice and treatment, including: NHS 111, pharmacies, the GP walk-in service at Edridge Road, the Urgent Care Centre at Croydon University Hospital and the minor injury units in Purley and New Addington. "We hope putting seven-foot tall yellow men in the centre of Croydon will grab people's attention," said Dr Fernandes. "The aim is to stop people attending A&E when a visit isn't necessary. "There are so many alternatives to queuing up waiting to be seen at A&E. "To prevent unnecessary pressure on A&E we want people to us all the services available." The yellow men were at Bernard Weatherill House, the council's new headquarters, earlier in the day. Margaret Mead, cabinet member for adult services and health, said: "This is a fun and quirky idea which will drive home the all-important messages around when to go to A&E. "Many trips to A&E are unnecessary, and people can be treated much more quickly and closer to home. "With winter a busy time for A&E departments, the council wants to support our partners at Croydon CCG to help residents find out about the alternatives available."
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