People who have suffered a sprain or a strain are advised to speak to a virtual A&E team rather than attend a casualty unit.
This advice has come from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
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The call comes as NHSGGC recorded 158 physical A&E strains and sprain patients over the course of a week – all of who could have been seen faster through its virtual service
People who suffer sprains and strains should not attend a physical A&E and should instead first speak to their GP or call NHS24 on 111 to speak to NHSGGC’s virtual A&E team.
The average waiting time for people who opted to go to A&E for their sprains and strains was around two hours, with one patient being forced to wait five hours, due to higher priority cases.
Dr Scott Davidson, Deputy Medical Director for Acute Services at NHSGGC, said: “Every week have hundreds of patients presenting with sprains and strains at our A&Es. We understand patients may be worried or anxious about their injury, particularly if they’ve had it for a few days. While it might seem sensible to go straight to A&E, if their GP is unavailable, their first port of call should be to access the Flow Navigation Centre by calling NHS24 on 111.”
Also known as the Flow Navigation Centre (FNC), the virtual A&E service sees and treats more than 1,500 patients every month through emergency video and telephone consultations. The Flow Navigation Centre, which launched in December 2020, has now seen more than 30,000 patients. It operates every day and is staffed by a team of highly experienced nurses and doctors.
The service is highly experienced in managing sprains and strains and if further treatment is required, patients are given scheduled arrival time at a Minor Injuries Unit, helping them avoid a potentially long wait for treatment.
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Dr Sott Davidson went on to explain in detail how the FNC will still allow people to get the level of care they expect, as well as how it helps ease pressure on the NHS: “The FNC team have seen thousands of strains and sprains, and the virtual A&E setup means you don’t have to come to hospital and sit in a busy waiting room. You’ll get the same level of care through the FNC, and if after your video or telephone consultation the team thinks you need a physical examination, they’ll arrange it for you at a time that suits.”
Pauline Kerray is an Emergency Nurse Practitioner from NHSGGC’s Flow Navigation Centre. Pauline added: “The Flow Navigation Centre is an ideal set-up for sprains and strains patients. When you speak to us, we’ll evaluate your injury, provide advice and we can book you in for onward treatment if necessary. If we think you need an X-ray, you’ll get a time to attend the nearest MIU, meaning you avoid A&E altogether. The key point to remember is to call us first before you make a trip to the hospital.”
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