A new triage system for accident and emergency departments is to be piloted with NHS 111 being the first point of contact for accessing urgent medical care.
The pilot scheme is currently live in Cornwall, Portsmouth and SE Hampshire and Blackpool, and has just begun in Warrington. The aim will be for patients to access the right service and avoid unnecessary visits to emergency departments.
NHS 111 will build on its role during the pandemic to direct patients to the most clinically appropriate service, including emergency departments, an urgent treatment centre, a GP or mental health professional. Based on what works best during the pilots, this approach will be rolled out to all trusts from December this year.
Each year there are 14.4 million A&E attendances in England that arrive without referral by 111, a GP or in an ambulance, as well as 2.1 million attendances that don’t result in any admission or treatment. Those facing a life-threatening emergency should continue to dial 999 immediately.
New funding to expand and update 25 A&E departments
In addition, A&Es in 25 hospitals across England will receive an additional £150 million to expand and upgrade, ensuring they have the physical space to treat patients, manage patient flow and improve infection control.