Newcastle Hospitals has launched a new self-service tool, in partnership with NHS Digital, to help everyone to use emergency care appropriately.
If you arrive at the Emergency Department at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) and are not a medical emergency, you will now be asked if you have a booked arrival time through 111 or a referral letter from your GP. If not, you will need to check your symptoms on a new self-service tool on tablets located in the entrance to A&E.
The self-service tool will ask a series of questions and, based on the information provided, give people information to help them decide what to do next. In certain situations, people may decide that their condition can be managed at home or with over-the-counter medication. In other circumstances, people may decide to book an appointment with their usual GP, or, if their symptoms are potentially more serious, may still decide to go to A&E.
The self-service tool is not intended for use during pregnancy, or by those under the age of 16. There are some situations where immediate medical attention through A&E may be required. These include, but are not limited to:
- chest pain
- breathing difficulties
- severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
- severe allergic reactions
- severe burns or scalds
The self-service tool is available from 8am until 8pm, 7 days a week, and arrival co-ordinators will be available in the entrance to help anyone who needs further advice.
Bas Sen, consultant in emergency medicine at the RVI, said: “It is without a doubt that anyone needing emergency medical attention should come to A&E straight away. However, as everyone knows, all emergency departments around the country are incredibly busy and it is essential that we quickly see those people who need our care the most.
“We have therefore introduced our new self-service tool to help our staff to deal with everyone appropriately on their arrival. Anyone who needs urgent care should always visit NHS 111 online first to be directed to the most appropriate service. If they do not, our self-service system will ask a series of questions about an individual’s symptoms then will advise the most appropriate and best care for them.
“It’s vital that RVI’s emergency department is able to concentrate on the patients who are really unwell and the new self-service system will help support this. I would urge people to please think carefully before attending A&E – please use NHS 111 online and carefully consider if attending an A&E department is really necessary and the best option for you.”
For immediate life-threatening emergencies always call 999. Unless you’re are experiencing an emergency, you should always #doyourbit and visit NHS 111 online for advice on urgent care, before visiting the RVI’s Emergency Care Centre.