Not sure if you were aware of this but currently the emergency department has a pathway whereby low risk patients who present themselves with clinical problems appropriate for followup in primary care can be discharged from triage to a booked appointment in Smithfield. This has been in place for approximately the last 6-8 weeks but has had patchy uptake to date. The system allows for up to 12 patient’s per day (from Monday to Friday) to be decanted from the emergency department to a timed appointment either the same day or the next day. Unfortunately it seems we have only had up to 3-4 patients’ per day referred thus far. The risk is that if we do not utilise this service appropriately it will be lost for good in the next few weeks. At present it is likely we will lose the service in the next 2-4 weeks.
This is not for patient’s referred by a general practitioner it is rather a means by which primary care patients who inadvertently present to the emergency department can be facilitated in a level of care appropriate to their clinical needs.
This will probably not be of much benefit during so-called office hours as there will be relatively easy access to primary care for many of these patients. Outside of these hours patient’s however may feel they have little option but to present to the emergency department for care. This offers a means by which patient’s, who would otherwise be sitting in the waiting room trying to compete with higher acuity patients for clinical care, get access to appropriate timely care.
Please consider the service regularly over the next few weeks for appropriate patient’s. We regularly discuss patient’s who present to the emergency department when their clinical needs are not requiring emergency care. This is an opportunity whereby we can begin to facilitate appropriate level of care for patient’s presenting to our department and thus help to ensure timely access to emergency care for those who truly need it. Keep in mind that if we do not use this service it is likely it will be lost for good and we may never get access to an opportunity like this again.
Thank you for reading this far.