In Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, we’re providing a new and improved way for you to access urgent NHS care when you need it.
The enhanced offer will enable the 111 service to directly book patients into time slots for Emergency Departments and Same Day Emergency Care services, when clinically appropriate. In line with the national plan, residents of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent will benefit from this service from early December 2020.
This need has always been present but has been brought into focus during the coronavirus pandemic, which now moving to the endemic phase is a catalyst for such change to occur more quickly.
By triaging a greater number of patients through 111 first we can reduce unnecessary attendances at Emergency Departments and help keep staff and patients safe in waiting rooms - maintaining social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, our priority is to help people get to the right service for their needs in the quickest way. The ambition over time is that more patients will use the 111 service so we can make sure they get to the right part of the NHS first time.
We want to reassure people that nobody who attends an Emergency Department without having contacted NHS 111 beforehand will be turned away without support.
What will be different for patients?
Patients will be encouraged to call NHS 111 or visit NHS 111 online before they attend an Emergency Department if their requirements are not a life-threatening emergency.
Emergency patients who have a life-threatening emergency should continue to call 999. Nobody who attends an Emergency Department without having contacted NHS 111 beforehand will be turned away without support.
Patients calling NHS 111 or visiting NHS 111 online will have their symptoms triaged and they will be provided with advice about which NHS service to use. Sometimes, this might be the Emergency Department, but NHS 111 will also be able to offer appointment slots for other services, such as Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) as well as providing advice that a patient might need to visit a pharmacy or another service. NHS 111 will be able to advise certain patients to bypass the Emergency Department and directly attend a specialty clinic within a hospital. For example, a patient experiencing possible blood clot symptoms (Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT) will be given a timeslot direct into the SDEC clinic. Previously, they would have been signposted to wait in an Emergency Department, triaged and then sent onto the SDEC service to potentially have a further wait. By offering direct access, the patient will go straight into the relevant clinic, reducing waiting times and unnecessary steps in the patient’s journey.
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