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Do you need urgent NHS care in Herefordshire or Worcestershire? Then contact NHS 111

A new system is being introduced for people in Herefordshire and Worcestershire who need urgent – but not emergency – NHS care.

People are being asked to contact NHS 111 by phone or online, at any time of day or night, to find out where they should go and when if they need urgent NHS care.

Arrangements have not changed for people who would normally call their GP with urgent illnesses such as tonsillitis or for those with serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries, who are asked to continue to dial 999 as before.

If needed, experienced clinicians will make a referral directly to the right service for them. This could be an appointment with an out of hours GP, or a timeslot at either a Minor Injury Unit or an Emergency Department.

This is a new way of accessing urgent care in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, to make sure everyone stays as safe as possible during the coronavirus pandemic. The new system will help the NHS manage the flow of patients when capacity in waiting rooms and departments is much smaller than before, to maintain distancing and reduce the risk of infection.

Contacting 111 first means everyone will get the right care in the right place, without waiting in public waiting areas for longer than is necessary. It also means that people don’t need to look up details of NHS services if they need urgent treatment. The 111 advisers will do all that – and book an appointment if appropriate.

The Herefordshire and Worcestershire scheme is one of several being introduced around the country in response to the pandemic and the ongoing need to protect people from infection. Other parts of the NHS across the country will follow suit over coming weeks and months.

Mari Gay, Managing Director for NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire, said: “This is all about keeping people safe during a pandemic, and we want to avoid lots of people turning up at A&E or Minor Injury Units all at one time when we must safely maintain social distance arrangements.

“Nobody’s going to be locked out of our Emergency Departments or our Minor Injury Units but our advice is simple; If you need urgent NHS care please contact NHS 111 by phone or online to find out where you should go and when. They know exactly what’s best for your condition and where to go for the right treatment.”

Dr Tristan Brodie, Urgent Care GP Lead, added: “It’s important to stress that all GP practices across Herefordshire and Worcestershire remain open, though we are working in different ways in order to protect patients and staff from the ongoing risk of coronavirus. The help and support offered by surgeries remains unchanged, therefore, for health concerns that patients would have previously contacted their GP surgery we ask that they continue to do so.”

Information that was held previously by NHS Herefordshire CCG, NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, NHS South Worcestershire CCG and NHS Wyre Forest CCG was transferred to NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG on 1 April 2020.

The new CCG is the the new data controller. Any questions about the use of data (including patient data) by the new CCG should be directed to hw.enquiries@nhs.net.