Think NHS 111 First Programme Update

Content originally from Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Think NHS 111 First Programme

The Think NHS 111 First programme will be implemented across mid and south Essex this winter as part of a national initiative by NHS England.

From December, residents who think they need to visit their local emergency department will be asked to call NHS 111 first. If needed, they will be given an appointment to come to the emergency department and the NHS 111 team will let us know when the patient is coming. If you turn up at A&E you won’t be turned away but may be redirected or have a longer wait.

For those with life-threatening illness or serious injury, the 999 service remains in place.

We would like to update you on the Think NHS 111 First programme which will be implemented across mid and south Essex this winter, as part of a national programme set up by NHS England. 

From December, residents in mid and south Essex who have an urgent medical problem and think they need to visit their local emergency department, or are not sure what to do, will be asked to call NHS 111 first. 
If a visit to the emergency department is necessary, they will be given a time slot to attend and the NHS 111 team will let the hospital know when the patient is coming. Calling NHS 111 first means patients could avoid a lengthy wait in the waiting room, which is especially important because the capacity of waiting areas has been reduced due to COVID-19 and social distancing. 

For some patients, calling NHS 111 first could mean they do not need to visit the emergency department at all, if there is an alternative way of meeting their needs such as arranging an appointment with their GP or visiting a pharmacy. 

As a new initiative we recognise some people will still arrive at our emergency departments without calling NHS 111 first. They will not be turned away, but it is possible they may be redirected or have a longer waiting time unless they need immediate treatment. 

Although Think NHS 111 is a national programme, locally in mid and south Essex we have set up a Think NHS 111 Programme Board which includes representation from system partners including CCGs, acute, ambulance, urgent, community and primary care providers. 

In order to make this change happen, a number of steps are being taken across the NHS system in mid and south Essex including:

  • increasing NHS 111 call handling capacity 
     
  • ensuring the technology will allow the NHS 111 team to book a time slot in the relevant emergency department 
     
  • increasing the availability of alternatives to visiting the emergency department including same-day emergency care

25 Nov 2020 03:15 PM