Call 111 before attending A & E unless it's a 999 need.
A message from Lisa Mardell | Communications Manager
Stay safe and avoid waiting in A&E – just call 111 first.
To ensure social distancing in the emergency department (A&E) waiting areas people with urgent, but not life-threatening, health problems are being asked to contact NHS 111 before attending. NHS 111 will provide help straight away; you will be spoken to by a trained professional and a, if needed, clinician. If you need urgent care they will book you in to A&E so you can be seen quickly and safely and staff at the hospital will be expecting you. NHS 111 may also signpost you to an alternative service where you can access the right care in the right place.
This is about making it easier for our patients to access the right care quickly and, importantly, keeping them safe during the pandemic. This winter it is crucial that we carefully manage the numbers of people in our emergency department to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 and keep patients and staff as safe as possible. Calling NHS 111 first can help to prevent overcrowding. This is specifically for people who are not in serious danger but need urgent attention. The fastest way to get the right care is to contact NHS 111.
Nationally around 70 per cent of people attending emergency departments had just walked in and the majority of those could have been seen through other services such as the urgent treatment centres, GP or even pharmacy.
Anyone who attends the emergency department (A&E) without an appointment from NHS 111 will still be seen but they could be directed to other services for treatment. Those with appointments from NHS 111 will be given priority unless there is a medical need.
People with life threatening conditions that need emergency attention should still call 999. Likewise, if the condition is not serious, you should still seek advice from your pharmacy or make an appointment with your GP.