People who need urgent NHS care across North Merseyside should contact NHS 111 before attending an Emergency Department.
NHS 111 will direct people to the most appropriate health service which may include a walk-in centre, GP practice, pharmacy or hospital.
If patients are assessed as needing to attend a hospital Emergency Department then they will be given a booked time slot.
People should still dial 999 as normal in a medical emergency.
This enhanced service, offering booked slots in our Emergency Departments for the first time, where appropriate, is part of the national NHS 111 First programme.
Dr Nikhil Sharma, Divisional Medical Director for Acute & Emergency Medicine, said: “By asking patients to contact NHS 111 first, they will be treated in the right place, right time, first time.
“If patients need hospital care then NHS 111’s booked time slots will help ensure that they are safely socially-distanced in our Emergency Departments.”
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 an urgent treatment centres, GP practice or a pharmacy.
Emergency Departments treat patients in order of clinical priority. Patients who walk into the Emergency Departments without contacting NHS 111 First will still be seen, but those with appointments from NHS 111 will be given priority, unless those patients have a greater clinical need. This means that contacting NHS111 first is the quickest way for patients to get the care they need.
People with life-threatening conditions that need emergency attention should still call 999. Likewise, if the condition is not serious then they should still seek advice from their pharmacy or make an appointment with their GP.
The North West Ambulance Service provide the NHS111 service in the North West. You can find out more at https://www.nwas.nhs.uk/services/non-emergency-111/ and there are some Frequently Asked Questions here.