A&E ‘phone first’ service hailed as a success

Lagan Valley Hospital Emergency Department has successfully completed its first week as a Phone First service.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 10:23 am

The change, alongside a temporary reduction in hours was introduced on October 18, 2021.

During the first five days, 517 contacts were made to the department compared to a recent weekly average of 514. Each case was assessed by a Consultant or Senior Clinician and 445 of these patients were then assessed by appointment in the department.

One of the ED Consultants at the Lagan Valley Hospital said: “We are really pleased with the uptake from people in the Lagan Valley area. The use of a scheduled system has resulted in a two thirds reduction in patients requiring ambulance transfer to another hospital for definitive care. This reduces potential delays in their treatment and will improve the quality and efficiency of their care.

“A small proportion of patients were redirected over the phone to a more appropriate healthcare resource. We have found that patients welcome this when they understand the reason why their condition or complaint may require investigation or treatment not available on the Lagan Valley site. This can avoid unnecessary waiting in the department, only to find this out later.

“We remain committed to providing safe, high quality and compassionate care to the community we serve and we would like to thank those who are embracing this new Phone First only service.”

A spokesperson for the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust said: “We would remind patients that it is vital to call (028) 9260 4643 before attending the Emergency Department at Lagan Valley Hospital.

“We are closely monitoring progress as a result of these changes and will continue to engage with our colleagues across the hospital site and primary care to ensure Lagan Valley remains able to meet the needs of patients. “We look forward to engaging with our local community through feedback and the planned public consultation as we continue to develop this service.”