The pilot that started last week and will run through December is seeing patients attending ED being assessed by a senior clinical member of the ED team on arrival.
If their condition is more appropriate for local urgent and primary care services, they will be given a referral for an urgent telephone assessment and a subsequent face-to-face appointment if necessary.
With the need to maintain strict social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, making sure the ED is kept for emergencies will help keep everyone safe and ensure people aren’t waiting unnecessarily when their condition can be managed appropriately elsewhere.
Similar systems are already in place in hospitals in Leeds and Bradford, as numbers of people attending ED continue to rise.
Dr Sarah Robertshaw, Lead Emergency Medicine Consultant at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Many people who attend the Emergency Department at Pinderfields Hospital present with problems that can be treated elsewhere.
“By referring them to the most appropriate local urgent or primary care service, we are making sure everyone gets the best care in the most appropriate setting and that we can manage patients in the safest way possible.
“It will also allow us to free up our department to care for people who are critically ill with life or limb-threatening illnesses or injuries at a time when we are seeing ever-increasing numbers of people.”
Patients who are discharged from the ED will undergo a full assessment over the telephone at an allocated time.
If necessary, the patient will be given a face-to-face appointment at the most appropriate facility, which includes at the King Street Centre in Wakefield or Pontefract Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC).
Remember, ED is for the treatment of serious and potentially life threatening conditions. These include:
• loss of consciousness
• acute confused state
• fits that are not stopping
• persistent, severe chest pain
• breathing difficulties
• severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
• severe allergic reactions
• severe burns or scalds
If you have a non-life-threatening urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do, you should contact NHS111 or visit 111.nhs.uk