Royal Stoke University Hospital has been selected to trial a new digital service helping patients to access the right care, whilst reducing demand on Emergency Services.
Aideen Walsh, Senior Responsible Officer NHS 111 First Programme & Urgent Emergency Care, explains: “We are pleased to have been selected as an early adopter site for a new national initiative to launch digital triage clinics in a number of our Emergency Departments, Walk-In Centres and Minor Injury Units.
“This tool is based on the existing NHS 111 triage systems and has been tried and tested through pilots in Blackpool and Portsmouth. The NHS 111 triage service has helped to complete over 31 million patient assessments in the past 12 months. A screening and validation process will take place using a digital kiosk with a touch screen.
“Like the NHS 111 online tool, service users will be asked to self-navigate through a series of intuitive health questions before being signposted to the most appropriate service for their needs. This could be their local pharmacy, dentist, GP, Minor Injuries Unit, Walk-In Clinic, or, for those with the most serious needs, the emergency department. The service user may be offered a time slot.
“We want to reassure people that this digital tool will not be used in isolation. The kiosks will be supported by our trained urgent care navigators, who will remain on hand to help and support users.”
The trial kiosks are expected to be in place by early September. The hospital is advising patients of the following:
- By visiting 111.nhs.uk, downloading the app or by ringing 111, we can help them be seen in the right place for their needs and reduce waiting times in urgent and emergency care services.
- No one will be turned away, but following the digital assessment, they may be asked to access a different service.
- People using the kiosks who are redirected but still want an assessment, will be seen.
- We will monitor the impact of these kiosks during this early phase.
- Service users may be offered a time slot to attend an alternative service, which will help to stop crowding in our urgent and emergency care services, reduce wait times.
- Patients bought in by ambulance will not need to visit the NHS 111 kiosks.
- If users have a pre-booked appointment, they will not have to answer the same questions again.
- The system is intelligent and will flag any potentially life-threatening emergencies, instructing the patient to proceed directly to reception for emergency assistance.
- The NHS 111 kiosks and digital screening triage system has been developed, tested and repeatedly safety checked by teams at NHS pathways and NHS 111 online. We are in the early stages of programme development and are working at a rapid pace to deploy the kiosks.
Download the full stakeholder statement (pdf) on this initiative here: NHS111 Kiosk Stakeholder Letter