To relieve NHS pressure, a new hospital scheme redirects patients away from A&E.


To relieve NHS pressure, a new hospital scheme diverts patients away from A&E.

Hundreds of patients who do not require critical care are being redirected by a team of London doctors, easing pressure on a hospital’s Aandamp;E department.

Medics and nurses are acting as a “front door” to services at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow as part of a pilot scheme.

Patients with minor ailments are referred to an urgent care center or sent to other care locations, such as a pharmacy.

The team has helped to redirect over 700 people in just four weeks, reducing pressure and allowing patients to avoid long waits in the emergency room.

Harrow Health GP Federation, a community interest company funded by the NHS and run by Harrow GPs, launched the program.

“Patients have been very receptive to this,” said chairman Dr. Kanesh Rajani. “They like the idea of leaving with a definite appointment, either that day or the next day.”

Treatment in the community is far less expensive than treatment in a hospital. This way, we can educate, redirect, and support patients to use the NHS correctly.”

The NHS 111 helpline is being promoted as a triage system for those in need of immediate assistance.

However, Dr. Mehul Lakhani, Harrow’s health director, said that some people still go to A&E with coughs and colds, sore throats, and even requests for repeat prescriptions.

On one particularly busy day, the team redirected 75 patients who didn’t need to go to the ER.

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“A lot of these people wait for many, many hours simply because they have no other option,” Dr. Lakhani explained.

We can direct them to a more appropriate location, where they can get a scheduled appointment and be seen on time in a primary care setting.”

The pilot is the group’s most recent initiative. Their other major initiative provides specialist appointments close to home for patients with a GP referral who would otherwise have to wait for a slot at a hospital.

Dr. Lakhani explained that many people do the work on top of their regular hospital duties, ensuring that no resources are diverted away from the front lines of the NHS.


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