New scheme sees A&E places become bookable

New scheme sees A&E places become bookable

New scheme sees A&E places become bookable

Under a new NHS scheme, people requiring medical care for serious but non-life threatening conditions can now book A&E appointments by calling 111.

It is hoped that this will help to regulate the number of people in hospital waiting areas, and avoid long hospital waits.

Using the 111 First programme, patients can schedule slots at A&E or other services such as a GPs or pharmacists, with appointments being allocated in order of the severity of the patient’s conditions.

But pre-booked appointments are not essential, and A&E services will continue to function as normal for those who simply turn up.

An spokesperson for NHS England said:

“Staff can already book people who need it into face-to-face appointments with local clinicians or arrange home visits.

“As the NHS now prepares for winter, we are further improving that offer with more clinicians and better links into local emergency departments.”

The scheme is currently being piloted in Cornwall and Portsmouth.

Similar trials have already seen emergency admissions to hospitals in England fall dramatically.

A major public information campaign is due to be launched in the coming months, after which it is thought that the programme will be rolled out across the country.

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