Fermanagh public urged to have say on emergemcy care

A COMPLETE reshaping of the current Out of Hours GP service, as well as a northern-wide roll out of SWAH’s ‘Phone First’ model, are just two of the issues the public are being asked to have its say on as part of an extended consultation in the future of emergency care.
The people of Fermanagh are being urged to have their say on the future of urgent and emergency care by taking part in the consultation, which opened in March and has now been extend until July 1st.
A review into emergency care services was first launched in 2018 but was paused due to the pandemic.
The review was restarted in autumn 2021, and in the public consultation documentation it stated it had identified a number of “key themes.”
This include accessibility, coordination, workforce and training, mental health, paediatric services, capacity and flow, and “an inefficient system.”
Three strategic priorities have been identified, the first being a need to create an integrated urgent and emergency care service.
One aspect of this would involve rolling out the ‘Phone First’ triage service, which was first introduced as a pilot scheme at SWAH last year and requires patients to call ahead before attending an ED unless it is a 999 emergency, and the service would also be used for the GP Out of Hours (OOH) at the weekends.
This priority would also see the current GP OOH service completely reshaped to form part of the wider urgent care system.
The second strategic priority involved increasing capacity where it is needed most, and co-ordinate services, while the third recommends a regionalised approach to ensure everyone has equal access across the North to all services, including in the care home sector.
The public consultation involves a short questionnaire, which can be accessed at at or by calling the new dedicated consultation phone number established by the Patient and Client Council. Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, the number to call is 028 9536 8542.
Health Minister Robin Swann urged as many people as possible to take part in the consultation.
“Urgent and emergency care services belong to us all and this is a chance to shape and improve those services to ensure they are fit to meet all of our needs now and into the future,” he said.
“The mantra of urgent and emergency care reform is about seeing the right person, in the right place, first time.
“I urge everyone to consider and respond to the proposals set out in this important consultation.”

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