Oxfordshire residents are encouraged to contact NHS 111 first if they are thinking of attending an Emergency Department.
NHS 111 is a national system that people can contact if they need clinical advice. Now, people who need clinical advice but aren’t in a life-threatening emergency are encouraged to contact NHS 111 first before attending their local Emergency Department (A&E).
They will then be assessed and, if appropriate, booked into either the John Radcliffe or Horton General Hospital Emergency Department for treatment.
However, if it would be more appropriate for them to receive clinical advice elsewhere, they will be advised on:
- how to self-care if required
- visiting their local pharmacy, dentist, optician, or their own GP for help
- visiting a local Minor Injuries Unit.
Lily O’Connor, Deputy Director for Urgent Care at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “NHS 111 First is a very important part of our planning as we continue to tackle winter pressures and plan for any future surges of COVID-19.
“NHS 111 First is designed to improve outcomes and experiences for our patients in healthcare settings, and also help us to maintain social distancing in our Emergency Departments and ensure that people receive the right care in the right place.
“People will still be able to contact 999 and attend an Emergency Department if they are experiencing a medical emergency, but we would encourage people who do not need emergency care to contact NHS 111 First to receive the most appropriate, timely, and convenient treatment.”
Dr Ed Capo-Bianco, Urgent Care lead at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The benefit of contacting NHS 111 First is that you will be assigned to the service that is most appropriate for your needs so you should end up in the right place, first time. You may be seen more quickly and by the healthcare professional who is best placed to treat you, a loved one, or the person you are caring for.
“By advising people where and when to go, we can reduce queues and avoid crowding in Emergency Departments and therefore reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission as well as the transmission of seasonal illnesses like flu and colds.”