We appreciate that when you need care urgently or in an emergency, this is often a stressful and difficult time for you and your family. Most people have other responsibilities and so you need to access care in a way that enables you to get on with your own life as quickly as possible.

In south east London we have an improvement programme looking at ways that we can help you when you need to access care quickly. What does this mean for you and your family?

Our aims:

We want to ensure that, if you need care urgently, you are seen in the least intensive setting for your needs and you have timely access to that care. As this may be from a GP, via NHS 111, an urgent treatment centre, pharmacy, or urgent community response we are developing pathways across the NHS that help you access care easily. Our aim is to make sure that your condition improves so that you don’t need to attend a hospital and can remain at home with the medication or treatment you need.

In the event of an emergency, you are likely to need to use an emergency department in one of our five hospitals. It may be that you need to be taken there by ambulance or are able to make your own way but, in that event, we aim to ensure that you are assessed quickly and receive the tests you need so that we can start treatment without delay. In most cases, this will mean you can return home on the same day and can then receive ongoing care from your GP or community services.

In serious cases you may be admitted to hospital, and it may take a little longer for you to become well. Another aim for our programme is to support you as you make arrangements to go home. This may be with support from friends and family, or you may need help in getting your home ready or may even need some ongoing support with rehab or district nursing. Again, we aim to make sure that across south east London this care is easily accessible so that you can return home as soon as possible.

Recent achievements

  • Deliver care as close to home as possible

We recently did work to understand whether patients arriving at our hospitals could have been seen closer to home, for example, by a GP, pharmacist or community support service. We found that, in many cases, it was possible for people to access care locally and so we are seeing how we can make sure people know what is available and where they need to go to access care quickly and easily without needing to go to hospital.

  • Getting people to the right place if they need to go to hospital

In each of our hospitals we have an area dedicated to making sure that people can receive treatment on the same day and so we have been working with our GPs, ambulance and NHS111 teams to allow them to arrange for patients to go directly to this area without needing to attend the emergency department. Because you will already have been assessed, your details can be passed on and the team at the hospital will know that they are likely to be able to diagnose and treat you so that you can go home that day. We are now working to make sure that as many conditions as possible can be treated this way.

Further information

For more information, please contact the Associate Director Urgent and Emergency Care Improvement (Joint), Sara White sara.white@selondonics.nhs.uk and Kelly Hudson kelly.hudson@selondonics.nhs.uk.

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