Patients who are assessed by NHS 111 as needing to attend A&E can now have an urgent appointment booked for them at any local emergency department in North Central London (NCL).
The new system started in the autumn across several London hospitals, including the North Middlesex University Hospital and Barnet Hospital, and has now expanded to emergency departments at the Royal Free, University College London Hospitals and Whittington Health.
Children and those needing mental health treatment are now also included in this pathway.
Local people who call NHS 111 with an urgent, but not life-threatening medical need, will be advised where they need to go for treatment and a timeslot will be booked for them.
This ‘emergency department heralding’ service is one of several changes to urgent care that have been introduced in London to make it easier and safer for patients to get the right treatment at the right time, while preventing overcrowding in emergency departments. This is especially important in light of Covid-19 and the ongoing risk of infection to patients and hospital staff.
These changes are being communicated to patients and the public through a national media and advertising campaign, which asks people to contact NHS 111 first if they have an urgent, but not serious or life-threatening medical need. GPs are also asked to advise patients who may need urgent and emergency care to contact NHS 111 either by phone or online.
This will mean patients get to speak to a medical professional earlier and will help the NHS to deliver quicker, safer care in the right environment and minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
For life-threatening medical emergencies, the public are still advised to contact 999 immediately.
Find out more on the NLP Urgent and Emergency Care - NHS 111 First page.