|Ealing Residents Urged 'Don't Go To A&E - Call The GP '|
As investigation launched into increase in hospital delays
A new 7 days a week GP service is being launched in Ealing in a bid to deter people from using casualty units 'unnecessarily'.
The announcement of the new service comes as the NHS investigate a rise in delays in A&E departments since closures at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex in September.
London Assembly Health Spokesperson Labour's Dr Onkar Sahota said figures for two weeks in October show London North West NHS Trust (LNW) as the worst performing for A&E waits in the country.
He said: “The NHS in North West London is starting to buckle under the strain of increasing demand for services at the same time as dramatic cuts to funding and A&E closures.
“The Government’s closure of A&E units at nearby hospitals have led to a spiralling crisis at the Northwick Park and Ealing A&E units. Since early September over 3,500 patients have been left suffering for more than four hours in West London A&Es, this not only affects patient care but reflects the unbearable pressure being placed on already overworked NHS staff.''
NHS bosses have claimed the increase in delays was not due to the closures but because more people are seeking emergency treatment.
The NHS Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) want people who feel unwell on Saturdays and Sundays to call NHS 111 for medical help and advice. If the trained 111 adviser thinks they need to see a GP, they will then be directed to the nearest open practice.
Dr Mohini Parmar, chair at Ealing CCG said: “We have introduced this service as part of our drive to encourage people to use the correct service for their need.
“We know that many patients attend A&E when their GP practice is closed, even if they don’t have a life-threatening illness.
“We want to encourage patients to be seen in primary care for non-life threatening illnesses, so hospital services can prioritise those who are seriously sick or injured.
“We hope that if people feel they need to see a GP over the weekend they will call 111 in the first instance and go to one of the local GP practices, rather than going to A&E with an illness or injury that can be treated by a GP or pharmacist.”
25th November 2014