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Use 111 booking system to ease winter pressures on NHS

Patients are being asked to help protect essential hospital services by using the NHS111 appointment system as an alternative to going to A&E at Watford General. The hospital is currently under severe pressure as it is looking after a large number of patients with Covid-19 on top of the additional demands winter puts on health services.

Unless you are very seriously ill or injured and need 999 emergency services, you should go online to www.111.nhs.uk or ring 111 for help and advice before leaving home.

The NHS 111 online and phone service can make you a booked appointment at an emergency department as well as arranging booked appointments with GP surgeries and pharmacies, or can divert your call to the ambulance service if necessary. Callers can also get directly through to a specialist mental health team by selecting option 2. 

Using the 111 service instead of going to A&E is the best way of ensuring you receive help in a timely manner.

Anyone arriving at an emergency department or urgent treatment centre without an appointment will be assessed by a senior nurse to see if they need immediate emergency treatment; if not they will be asked to contact NHS 111 to be triaged.

The NHS111 appointment system for urgent and emergency care is there to keep urgent NHS services safe and ensure they are available for everyone who needs them. 

David Evans, Managing Director of Herts Valleys CCG said: “It’s vitally important that everybody who needs urgent care is seen and treated safely in the right place, first time. Waiting for hours in an emergency department to be seen for a minor injury or illness is not in anyone’s interests. By picking up the phone or going online before people make the decision to travel, they can be assured that the right medical professional is expecting to see them.”

The appointment system helps to ensure that everyone who needs urgent care help can be seen safely and comfortably. It will help patients to get the help they need without spending time in a waiting room where the likelihood of contracting COVID-19, flu or other viruses is increased.

The advice remains that people should continue to ring 999 if they, or someone they are with, are very seriously ill or injured. No-one who needs emergency care will be turned away.

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