The SNP Government has published new guidance for emergency department teams to ensure patients presenting are seen by the right person in the right place for their healthcare need.
It has been developed at the request of NHS Boards to support hospitals to safely refer people to the most appropriate place for treatment, if they do not need emergency care.
With the level of people self-referring to hospital emergency departments returning to pre-COVID levels, hospitals are seeing more patients whose needs can be better met closer to home by local pharmacies or GP practices.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“NHS Ayrshire & Arran staff continue to do much work under extremely high pressure, as COVID continues to put pressure on our hospitals.
“It is therefore necessary to apply this tried and tested method to help relieve pressure of A&E departments when patients present with symptoms that don’t require emergency care.
The guidance forms part of the SNP Government’s £27 million Redesign of Urgent Care, and will encourage those who think they need A&E, but do not have an emergency, to first access care through NHS 24 111.”
Royal College of Emergency Medicine Vice President (Scotland) Dr John Thomson said:
“Emergency department resources are not infinite. As the demand from patients continues to increase, it is essential we have the capacity to care for those who require the skill and expertise of the emergency department team. This guidance will help our NHS staff safely redirect those who do not to the best place for their healthcare need.
“To ensure everyone receives the right care, at the right time, in the right place, it will on occasion be appropriate to signpost or redirect some people who have presented to an emergency department - but do not require after an assessment to be seen there - to another part of the healthcare system.”
The guidance can be read in full here.
The SNP Government recognises all health boards have their own unique pressures and will implement this guidance as soon as possible. Every health board has been redirecting patients to more appropriate care wherever possible – but this guidance will ensure consistency across Scotland and make it easier to get people to the right care as quickly and safely as possible.