NHS 111 to roll out A&E booking service to help maintain social distancing

NHS England spokesperson says those who do not book an appointment will not be turned away if they come to A&E

PA Reporter
Saturday 05 September 2020 16:34
Comments

Patients are being urged to call 111 before attending accident and emergency departments to help regulate the number of people in hospital waiting areas.

Under the new scheme, those in need of care for a serious but non-life threatening condition will be able to book an appointment at their nearest A&E to avoid a long wait at hospital.

The 111 First programme is intended to schedule slots at A&E to help maintain social distancing in hospitals, or direct patients to other services such as a GP or pharmacist.

Currently being piloted in Plymouth and Cornwall, it is due to be extended to other parts of the country in the coming months.

A spokesman for NHS England emphasised that those who did not book an appointment would not be turned away if they presented at A&E.

"It reduces the crowding in A&E but still allows you to get the help you need," he said.

The spokesman said: "(NHS 111) staff can already book people who need it into face-to-face appointments with local clinicians or arrange home visits.

"As the NHS now prepares for winter, we are further improving that offer with more clinicians and better links into local emergency departments."

He added that those in need of urgent care would be given a slot within a matter of hours, while in serious cases 111 operators would send an ambulance to take a patient in immediately.

The service is due to launch a major public information campaign in the coming months informing the public where and how to access the care they need.

A pilot for a similar "phone-first" triage system was launched at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board last month.

Walk-in patients and emergency admissions to hospitals in England fell dramatically in the first few months of lockdown.

Data published by NHS England shows 0.9 million A&E attendances were recorded in April 2020, down 57% from 2.1 million in April 2019.

Emergency admissions to A&E departments at hospitals in England also showed a sharp fall - down 39% from 535,226 in April 2019 to 326,581 in April 2020.

It was the lowest for any calendar month since current records began in August 2010.

Health officials became so concerned about the drop that many NHS foundation trusts urged people to attend if they needed urgent, non-Covid related care.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in