By Lucy Ashton

The Scottish Government has published new guidance for emergency department (A&E) teams to ensure people receive the appropriate care from the right person in the right place.

With the level of people self-referring to hospital emergency departments returning to pre-Covid levels, hospitals are seeing more patients whose needs can be better met closer to home by local pharmacies or GP practices.

If you are in any doubt about who you should contact, please call NHS24 on 111 to access the appropriate care. If you attend an Emergency Department and your health problem could be better managed you may be redirected to another service in line with new national guidance.

The new Scottish Government guidance draws on already established good practices across boards including NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to inform a Scotland-wide approach developed in partnership with NHS Boards, Health and Social Care Partnerships, Primary Care services and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM).

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has put measures in place to support this new approach – and reported positive results on reducing pressure on ED departments.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “It is widely recognised that more people could be better seen away from hospital and closer to home by a more appropriate care provider such as a pharmacy or GP practice or indeed, managed with self-care guidance.

“As part of the NHS Recovery Plan we have invested £27 million towards the Redesign of Urgent Care to ensure people receive the right care, at the right place. This guidance will form part of this work and will help our healthcare staff safely signpost people to care more appropriate to heir need in the right place and at the right time for their condition.

“By adopting a consistent approach across Scotland, we can reduce delays in assessment and treatment, prevent overcrowding in emergency departments and ultimately release doctors to deliver emergency care to those who really need it.”

Deputy Medical Director for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Dr Scott Davidson said: “We already work closely with NHS 24 to direct people to the right place from their own homes. This new guidance enables us to support people who have attended an emergency department but who do not need to be seen there to be directed elsewhere with appropriate advice and support.”

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