St Mary's and Charing Cross A&Es will join NHS 111 First service from 27 November

St Mary's and Charing Cross A&Es will join NHS 111 First service from 27 November - providing booked appointments for patients with urgent but not life-threatening medical needs

From Friday 27 November, anyone who needs urgent care at St Mary's or Charing Cross A&E will be booked into an available allocated arrival slot by first contacting NHS 111. This is part of a London-wide initiative being rolled out in phases from 26 October. 

Londoners will be asked to contact NHS 111 online or by phone before going to A&E if they have an urgent, but not life-threatening, medical need. Arrangements will not change for people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries, who should continue to dial 999, and anyone arriving at A&E without calling NHS 111 will still receive medical care, with those needing emergency treatment prioritised.

The 111 First service aims to help patients get the right care, in the right place, more quickly. The new system will also mean shorter waiting times and fewer people in A&E, helping with physical distancing and reducing the risk of Covid-19. In addition, arrangements will be in place to alert A&Es if shielding patients are coming in so they can be kept safe in a separate area.

Dr Frances Bowen, divisional director of medicine and integrated care at Imperial College Healthcare said: “Our priority is to keep all of our patients and staff safe whilst providing the best possible care. The 111 First approach will provide additional benefits on top of a range of infection prevention measures we already have in place.”

NHS111 can make direct appointments online, by phone or face-to-face with a variety of health services, including urgent treatment centres, a patient’s own GP, specialised mental health crisis services, dental services and pharmacists for urgent repeat prescriptions and advice. If needed, an ambulance can also be dispatched. The service, which is being significantly expanded in the capital, is already available at any time of day or night with trained health advisers, doctors, nurses, paramedics or pharmacists able to get people the right NHS care quickly and in the right place.

Dr Vin Diwakar, medical director for the NHS in London said: “The NHS has put in place extra measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and we want to reassure patients that it is safe to come in for treatment when they need it.  However, the risk of catching Covid-19 is still here and it’s vital that we take additional steps to keep our patients and staff safe. 111 First will help reduce the waiting time to be seen in A&E; Londoners will get the treatment they need faster and in the right place. General practice is open to deal with patients with normal primary care needs, but it is essential that anyone who requires urgent, although not life-threatening treatment, contacts NHS 111 first to get the right care.”