A&E – best known brand in the Country?

31 October 2014

I imagine you have all seen the endless quizzes that are posted on social media; what country / pet / fish / car / historical figure are you? I can’t see the point in these, but I do like the logo quiz where you have a selection of company logos and you have to guess the brand. The current club 18-30 generation has grown up with direct marketing on social media, mass advertising campaigns and real-life documentaries around A&E and the NHS as a whole, and with the latest technology they have the ‘instant access’ to almost anything they want.

So if you were asked the question what is the biggest brand in various categories, you might say (only personal opinion) search engine = ‘Google’, technology = ‘Apple’ or soft drinks = ‘Coke’ but why is that? It’s probably due to our own perception/psychology and experience in the use of the brand. Therefore, we could probably say that their brand awareness is probably around 60-80% of the market.

However, do you think there is a logo / brand that is at the top of everyone’s list in emergency healthcare? Of course it’s A&E (that’s Accident & Emergency, not Anything & Everything as I’ve heard people call it). So why is that? For decades the use of Emergency Departments has been the main source of care for people who have suffered an accident or emergency and need treatment of some description, but we have read in the press over the past few years that the NHS and A&E departments have seen a significant increase in activity. But there are so many different ways to seek emergency care; with an increase in walk in centres, out of hours Primary Care services, the relatively new NHS 111 and even your local pharmacy to name a few. Although we tend to stick with what we know, our experiences and behaviours lead us back to A&E.

A&E should not be the default destination for all ‘accidents’ or ‘emergencies’ but it will take multiple factors to change the way in which people use emergency healthcare.

I’m just an analyst, not a clinician or even a front-line member of staff but having spent the past 5 years looking at the delivery of emergency care I’m still amazed at the level of care and quality that is given to people everyday.

Chris Green (chrisgreen@nhs.net)