Northern Health Trust Launch New Service

Northern Health Trust Launch New Service

Phone First is a new triage system which will operate for patients in the Northern Trust area and will cover all of their emergency departments and minor injury units. The service which will operate 24hrs a day, 7 days a week is hoped to assist patients who have an emergency, which is not immediately life threatening. Calling the Phone First service to discuss the nature of the emergency will allow them to make a timed appointment for you to attend an emergency department or minor injury unit. This will hopefully reduce the number of people waiting for lengthy periods in the emergency department of local hospitals.

In some instances, service users could also be redirected to other appropriate health professionals such as their GP or the out-of-hours GP service. However, the emergency department will not turn away any patient who chose not to use the Phone First service.

Trials have been running in the Causeway Hospital emergency department since mid-November and all of the service users 100% agreed that they would continue to use Phone First because:

  • The average daily number of people who ‘walked in’ to Causeway Hospital ED reduced from 52 (in the week prior to the service being introduced) to 25 when ‘Phone First went live.
  • There were an average of 30 calls per day to the ‘Phone First’ Service.
  • Patients were then booked into an ED service or stream, including a slot to see the Emergency Nurse practitioner, redirected to their GP, or given advice.
  • On average there were 18% less people in Causeway Hospital ED between hours of 13:00 and 23:00 during the first week of ‘Phone First’ compared to the previous week.
  • The feedback from patients using the service was very positive in terms of their call, triage, waiting time to see a doctor, treatment, and overall patient experience.

Dr Mark Jenkins, an Emergency Medicine consultant at Antrim Area Hospital added:

“The rollout of the Phone First service will improve patient safety in terms of preventing overcrowding and reducing long waits in our EDs and Minor Injuries Service. It will also help reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection and transmission.”

For more information, the Northern Trust website may be accessed here.

‘Phone First’ number to ring is 0300 123 1 123The ‘Phone First’ text relay number is 18001 0300 123 1 123 and it’s also available through the Interpreter Now App.

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