St George’s is pleased to announce the launch of a new initiative in our emergency department (ED) – 111 First.

Patients that call NHS 111 and need to attend ED can now be allocated a time slot to attend ED for their treatment. This will apply only to patients that need treatment for an urgent but not serious or life-threatening medical need.

111 First, which has already been piloted at five London hospitals, aims to help manage capacity in our ED, and further prevent the spread of Covid-19 and flu. For patients, it will ensure they get quicker, safer care in the right environment for their needs.

However, it is important to stress that anyone who attends our ED without calling 111 first will still continue to be seen as normal, with patients prioritised according to clinical need.

Dr Paul Holmes, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Clinical Director of St George’s Emergency Department, said: “NHS 111 First is a vital service, helping patients get the care they need at the right time and the right place. It will also help our teams manage capacity, reduce waiting times and further prevent the spread of Covid-19 or flu.

“St George’s Emergency Department will always be there for patients who walk in at any time of the day, but we are pleased to be able to offer this new service to the communities we serve.”

A national NHS 111 campaign will be reminding everyone of the benefits of using the service. The potential benefits for patients are:

  • People will get to speak with a clinician earlier, and get the right treatment first time
  • If someone contacting NHS 111 needs urgent face-to-face assessment or treatment, this can be arranged there and then, without any further delay. Patients will know exactly where to go, and when. This will help to also reduce waiting times for all patients
  • By advising people where and when to go, queues/crowding in ED/A&E waiting rooms can potentially be reduced, and the risk of Covid-19 transmission significantly reduced
  • People will be more likely to get appropriate care closer to home.