PARENTS and carers of children aged five years and under are invited to attend the family-friendly launch of a new health campaign at Oldham Library this month.

The ‘Choose the Right Care Path’ event will take place at lunchtime on Wednesday (May 16) in the library’s Performance Space, in a bid to raise awareness of the healthcare options available to families when their little ones are under the weather.

Health and communications professionals from NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group will be on hand to reveal the bright new campaign to parents, including the website, social media pages and free children’s health app, giving parents and carers access to health advice in the palm of their hands.

The multi-platform campaign focuses on promoting the right care in the right place at the right time, discouraging the use of accident and emergency departments for the ‘little sicks’ - the problems that can be dealt with either at home or by other health professionals working in primary care across Oldham.

This approach will help ensure that children who need urgent treatment for ‘big sicks’ - including life threatening illnesses and injuries - have access to the care they need at local Accident & Emergency department.

The campaign also aims to make families feel safe and confident in managing their young children’s conditions, giving them the tools they need to understand when it’s appropriate to contact a health professional and when it’s best to care for their under-fives at home.

Dr John Patterson, chief clinical officer at NHS Oldham CCG and GP at Hilltop Practice in Fitton Hill said: “We want to give families in Oldham the power to understand their children’s needs, manage their conditions and reduce the number of times they need to attend A&E for minor illnesses, or as I like to call them, the ‘little sicks’, creating the space and capacity needed in A&E for those children suffering from the ‘big sicks’, in other words the children who really do need urgent hospital care.

“This exciting campaign will help us to promote the fact that our Oldham-wide team of specialised, highly skilled GPs, practice nurses, children’s community nursing staff and pharmacists are all here to keep little ones healthy, happy and out of hospital wherever possible, meaning that families in Oldham are able to live more positive, healthier lives.”

Dr Harpal Hunjan, GP at Hopwood House surgery features in the campaign.

She explained: “The launch event is a great opportunity for families to come along and hear about the ways we can support them to care for their little ones by choosing the right care path whether that is through administering self-care at home, booking a same day GP appointment, taking a trip to the pharmacy or asking for a referral to our children’s community nursing team.

“There’s a whole wealth of information and resources out there for families, and we want to help signpost them to take the right care pathways for their little ones, making sure everyone is able to access the right care in the right place at the right time.”

Emma Molden, children’s community nursing team leader, also part of the the campaign, said: “We’re really proud to be part of the wider NHS team who provide specialised, tailored healthcare to children under five in Oldham.

“We want this campaign to help families make appropriate decisions that keep children well for longer, enabling them to receive care in the right place and giving them the best health outcomes in the longer term.”