Did you know that more than 3,300 people who visited A&E at Macclesfield District General Hospital between November 2014 and February 2015 needed no treatment at all apart from information and advice?

Many of those people had common ailments like coughs and colds, which they could have treated themselves or asked their pharmacist about.

And it would have cost the local NHS around £50,000 less if those people had stayed away from A&E last winter – money that could have paid the salaries of two newly-qualified nurses.

That’s why the CCG, which plans and buys healthcare for Eastern Cheshire’s 204,000 residents, is running its ‘Choose Well’ campaign which gives residents the information they need to choose the right service at the right time so they get better quickly and help ease the strain on hard-pressed services.

We’re advertising throughout the winter in locations including Macclesfield, Knutsford and Wilmslow railway stations, Morrisons in Congleton, Waitrose in Poynton, and on buses and phone booths across the area.

We’re also spreading Choose Well messages on radio stations, in local newspapers such as this one and on our website at easterncheshireccg.nhs.uk.

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And we’re simultaneously running a Choose Well competition, in which eagle-eyed residents are being given the chance to win a three-month pass to a leisure centre of their choice.

All you have to do is take a picture of one of the adverts and Tweet it to @NHSECCCG or email it to CCG communications manager Charles Malkin at c.malkin@nhs.net.

All entries received by 5pm on Monday, February 29, will be entered into a prize draw – and one lucky winner will get a three-month pass to one of seven leisure centres, courtesy of Everybody Sport and Recreation.

Our overall aim is to encourage sensible use

of the local urgent care system and to remind people they should

only call 999 or visit

A&E in life-threatening emergencies such as loss of consciousness, severe chest pain, breathing difficulties or heavy bleeding.

If you need urgent NHS help or advice but it’s not an emergency, there are alternatives locally.