Stay safe and avoid waiting in A&E – Contact NHS 111 first
01 December 2020
People in Cheshire who need urgent NHS care are being urged to contact NHS 111 before they decide to walk into A&E.
NHS 111 is now able to book a time slot for attendance at an emergency department or – if appropriate – can support you to access the alternative service you need, first time.
To improve patient experience, and prevent crowding in emergency departments, the new system has been launched at all three of Cheshire’s hospital Trusts – The Countess of Chester, East Cheshire and Mid Cheshire Hospitals.
People with life-threatening conditions or those that need emergency attention should still call 999.
David Coyle, Chief Operating Officer at The Countess of Chester Hospital, said: “NHS 111 First is about giving patients faster and easier access to the care they need.
“If it is decided, following assessment by a trained clinician, that going to A&E is the right thing to do then an appointment slot can be provided. This will help us to better maintain your safety by ensuring social distancing in our A&E waiting area, while also speeding up triaging and the initial assessment processes.
“Everyone who attends A&E, whether they contacted NHS 111 first or not, will be initially assessed, directed to the appropriate place and / or treated by our teams and can expect the same high-quality care as always.”
Seif Ahmad, Emergency Department Service Lead at Leighton Hospital, said: “Nobody is going to be turned away from our emergency department but, so we can avoid a lot of people arriving at the same time, if you have an urgent – but not emergency – health issue contact NHS 111 to find out where you should be treated and when.
“If it is decided you should go to the emergency department, by giving you an appointment slot we can see and treat you more quickly and safely maintain social distancing in our waiting room to protect you from the risk of COVID-19 as well as seasonal illnesses like flu and colds.”
Simon Goff, Chief Operating Officer at East Cheshire NHS Trust, said: “NHS 111 first will deliver improved outcomes for patients by helping them access the right service at the right time. In order to keep you safe, we must maintain social distancing and carefully manage the number of people in our emergency department at any one time.
“All patients who need a ‘blue light’ response will still receive one and no patient will be turned away if they come to an emergency department without calling 111 first.”
In addition to the free NHS 111 phone line, NHS 111 can also be contacted online: 111.nhs.uk