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Coronavirus: People told to phone ahead before going to A&E in Wales

PUBLISHED

People with non-life threatening illnesses will be told to call before going to Wales' biggest A&E department. Patients will be assessed remotely and given a time slot for the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff if needed.

Hospital bosses feel returning to over-crowded waiting rooms would provide an "unacceptable" risk to patients due to coronavirus.

The system is set to start at the end of July, but will not apply to people with serious illnesses or injuries.

Details are still being discussed by Cardiff and Vale health board, but patients with less serious illnesses or injuries will be told to phone ahead, most likely on the 24-hour number used to contact the local GP out-of-hours service. They will be assessed by a doctor or a nurse and, depending on the severity of the condition, will either be given a time window to go to A&E or be directed to other services.

This system was introduced in Denmark several years ago.

"This is all about being safe and ensuring that emergency medicine and emergency care is safe and not about putting barriers in place to those more vulnerable people," says the department's lead-doctor Dr Katja Empson.

"What we really think is that by using this system, we'll be able to focus our attention on those vulnerable groups when they do present."

If successful, the system could become a long-term answer to reducing pressures on emergency medicine, she added.

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Source: BBC News, 14 July 2020

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