AN ONLINE film has been launched to help promote awareness of local accident and emergency services and how they should be used.

It is the brainchild of local healthcare partners NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group and Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to explain when to use 111 and A&E.

Filmed during one shift at the end of 2013, the video features interviews with members of staff who talk about their experiences of working in an emergency department along with patients.

Consultant in emergency medicine Dr Rachel Wharton, who features in the film, said: “We hope the film helps explain when it is appropriate to attend your emergency department and what other options are available.

“Your ED is always here to help people who need it, but if you think your condition can be managed elsewhere please consider visiting your GP, local pharmacy or walk-in centre or calling 111 for advice.”

Chairman of NHS Dorset CCG Dr Forbes Watson added: “NHS resources come under increased pressure over long weekends and holidays, therefore it is important that people use them properly and get the care they need quickly.

“Unfortunately we still see inappropriate cases presented at emergency departments, that could be treated elsewhere.

“There are lots of places people in Dorset can receive care, but in the first instance we would always encourage people to dial 111 for any medical help that isn’t life threatening.”

Launched in April 2013, NHS 111 in Dorset has received over 200,000 calls.

Examples of when to dial NHS 111 include when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency, when you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service or you don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP.

Residents can also call if they simply need some advice and are not sure who to contact.

Health chiefs are reminding people that if they or someone elseis in a life threatening situation don’t hesitate to call 999 or attend the local ED.

The video is available via the NHS Dorset CCG website.