Young people most likely to use A&E for health advice

Survey finds pharmacy services are underused by those seeking health information

New research suggests young people are the most likely to use A&E services to access health advice. 

A survey of 2,000 people found that while 18-24 year olds are more likely than other age groups to use Google and NHS Choices to search for health information, they also claim to be the most regular users of A&E for information.

Only around 20% of respondents aged 45 and over said they use A&E to get information about their health, but among those aged 18-24, this figure was more than double, at 42%. 

The research was commissioned by the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB), a trade association that represents manufacturers of branded over-the-counter medicines and food supplements. 

It found that pharmacy services are comparatively underused. Despite 99% of the population being able to get to a pharmacy within 20 minutes by car, and 96% by walking or using public transport, the survey found just 52% of younger people use a pharmacy for health advice, compared with 65% of the 55 and over age group. 

The PAGB says the results show that younger people need more information about how to use NHS services appropriately. 

Public Health England lead nurse for children, young people and families, Wendy Nicholson, who will speak at this week's Self Care Forum annual conference at the RCN, says: ‘If we are to improve people’s health, we need to be supporting the public to look after their own health better, whether that involves making healthier lifestyle choices, being prepared for common winter illnesses, or knowing where to go to get healthcare advice.  

‘As well as benefiting individuals it will also lead to a healthier population and reduce pressure on frontline NHS services.’


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