People on Wirral who need urgent NHS care are being asked to call the new NHS 111 First service before they decide to walk into the hospital Emergency Department (A&E).
To ensure social distancing in the Emergency Department waiting areas, people who do not need an ambulance are being asked to contact NHS 111 for an appointment before attending. The service will then book them a time slot at the Emergency Department at Arrowe Park Hospital or at the most appropriate health service provider for the patient.
The new approach will ensure that patients can access the clinical service they need, first time – and avoid lengthy waits.
Wirral is one of the first areas in the North West to implement the new nation-wide system from 24th November, with residents being asked to call 111 before attending. NHS 111 First is being rolled out nationally in December.
Dr Nikki Stevenson, Executive Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, said: “This will help our patients by ensuring access to the right service quickly and, importantly, will keep them safe during the current pandemic, when we need to carefully manage the numbers of people in our Emergency Department to ensure social distancing.
“People who really need emergency care should still call 999. Those people who do not have a serious emergency but need urgent attention should contact NHS 111 First either by telephone or online.
“They will speak with a trained professional and a clinician if needed. If it is decided they should go to the Emergency Department, then they will be given a suitable time to attend and staff at the hospital will be expecting them.”
Nationally around 70 per cent of people who walk into an emergency department could have been seen through other urgent care services such as urgent treatment centres, GPs or pharmacy.
If anyone has a condition which is not serious, please seek advice from the pharmacy or make an appointment with their GP.
Anyone who attends the Emergency Department (A&E) without an appointment from NHS 111 First will still be seen but could be directed to other services for treatment.
People with life threatening conditions that need emergency attention should still call 999.
People experiencing mental health crisis should continue to call the CWP 24/7 freephone helpline on 0800 145 6485.
In order understand how NHS 111 First is working on Wirral we are encouraging you to get in touch and let us know what your experience was like.
Please #Spare5 to share your experience on Wirral Feedback Centre or call 0151 230 8957