But where an urgent clinical opinion is needed within 24 hours. They include NHS 111, Urgent Care Centres and Minor Illness/Injury Units.
The NHS is making changes to local urgent care services to offer you the following benefits:
As part of this transformation, NHS 111 is being enhanced so that patients access urgent care services that have been fully integrated. Patients calling NHS 111 who need clinical input will be transferred to a Clinical Assessment Service (CAS). They will speak directly to a clinician who will seek to complete the call there and then without the need to transfer the patient elsewhere.
The current NHS 111 service is staffed by trained Health Advisors who advise between 70% and 80% of callers to either visit A&E, contact another service or wait for an ambulance.
The new NHS 111 service will link directly to a Clinical Assessment Service (CAS) with at least one senior GP available 24/7 as part of a multi-skilled clinical team.
Where possible, this team will provide advice over the telephone to avoid unnecessary journeys for patients.
They can advise if you need face to face treatment urgently or book you an appointment with the right service.
National research has shown that patients and the public are confused by the mix of walk-in centres, minor injuries units and urgent care centres offering varied forms of service.
There is a confusing variation in opening times, in the types of staff present and what diagnostics may be available.
To end this confusion, NHS England (the organisation that coordinates healthcare services nationally) has set out a single set of standards for all urgent care settings – that will be called ‘Urgent Treatment Centres’.
All Urgent Treatment Centres will…
- Offer access to diagnostics tests, e.g. urinalysis, ECG and in some cases X-ray
- Offer direct booking via 111
- Offer walk-in services
- Provide access to urgent appointments within 4hrs booked via 111, ambulance services and general practice
- Provide effective management of minor illness and minor injury
- Be Open at least 12 hours a day
- Be GP-led
- Be Staffed by GPs, nurses and other clinicians
- Be part of locally integrated urgent and emergency care services working in conjunction with the ambulance service, NHS111, local GPs, hospital A&E services and other local providers.