In time for the busy winter months, people in Hertfordshire who need urgent, but not emergency health care are being urged to contact NHS 111 before travelling to A&E as the 111 service can now book appointment slots for you when these are needed.
People can call NHS 111 or go online to 111.nhs.uk if they or someone they are with or care for has a medical care need. The patient or someone acting on their behalf will be given a thorough assessment and then helped to find treatment, which could be at their local pharmacy, their GP surgery or an appointment slot at an A&E department or Urgent Treatment Centre.
The move for NHS 111 to make appointment slots within the emergency departments or Urgent Treatment Centres at hospitals in Watford and Stevenage in Hertfordshire and Harlow, Essex, which serve Hertfordshire residents, is to help people get the care they need in the right place. It should reduce the amount of time spent in a waiting room where there is an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, flu or other viruses. Waiting for hours in an emergency department to be seen for a minor injury or illness is not in anyone’s interests.
The appointment system should also ease pressures on hospitals and ensure urgent NHS services are safe and available to everyone who needs them.
People are being reminded to call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured, or if their life is at risk.
There is more information about the new measures, introduced on 1st December 2020, in a video available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hnlx4eUgrqM&feature=youtu.be