A smartphone health app aimed at beating the winter strain at A&E has been launched.
Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) hopes the free download device, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, will stop patients using the emergency department at Darent Valley Hospital needlessly.
The free Health Help Now app will provide people with details on the best place to go or to contact for advice or treatment at any time of day or night.
Patients can now use an app when they feel unwell. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto
It can be used on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers, but is expected to be developed for all mobiles next year.
You simply click on your symptoms and where you are, and the app works out where you should go.
GP Dr Bhaskar Bora is chairman of Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG, which plans and pays for the bulk of the area’s health services.
He said: “Health Help Now means our local community will be able to find the most appropriate help fast and when they need it.
Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford
“It gives guidance for when and when not to go to A&E. 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 which are often better able to meet their needs.
“This may save them a long wait and should help to take the pressure off A&E, especially over the busy winter period.”
The app was developed with input from local GPs, hospital doctors and other health professionals, and covers the whole of Kent and Medway.
It lists common symptoms and offers suggestions for treatment.
To download Health Help Now go to www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net. Anyone who does not have internet access should call NHS 111 free for urgent healthcare advice 24 hours a day.